Photo from SpaceX

A huge development in the space industry took place last week when the private space company SpaceX unveiled it’s new Dragon V2 spacecraft. And I’ve got to say, the Dragon V2 spacecraft looks like a pretty sweet ride.

Since 2010, NASA has been encouraging private companies to develop cutting-edge spacecrafts as part of its Commercial Crew Development program. The Commercial Crew Development program aims to create privately operated spaceships to deliver a minimum of four crewman to the International Space Station. NASA expects to send this spacecraft into orbit by 2017.

Companies such as Boeing, Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada have been politely competing with one another to develop this spacecraft. However, after their presentation of the Dragon V2 spacecraft, it may look like SpaceX may be the frontrunner.

SpaceX was founded in 2002 and aims “to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”

SpaceX aimed to create Dragon V2 with passenger comfort and safety in mind. It has a brand new escape system for astronauts should an emergency ever occur. The spacecraft utilizes eight of the company’s SuperDraco engines which is a type of rocket engine that uses liquid propellants.

What’s especially impressive about the Dragon V2 is its ability to land on Earth (or another planet for that matter) with the precision of a helicopter.

The Dragon V2 spacecraft surpasses NASA’s four crew member stipulation, with an ability to transport seven astronauts. It’s Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) creates a pleasant atmosphere for astronauts on board. Hm… I wonder if the seats recline as well? Perhaps there’s beverage service?

Although NASA aims to have the spacecraft in orbit by 2017, SpaceX founder Elon Musk says he believes the Dragon V2 would be ready a year ahead of schedule.

Check out the unveiling of the Dragon V2 spacecraft below:

Sources: Blastr, SpaceX