Elon Musk shares look at SpaceX Crew Dragon in test chamber

It's so quiet in here.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

Elon Musk isn't slowing down on his goal to get humans to Mars (and shoot them around the moon), so SpaceX is busy putting its Crew Dragon spacecraft through its testing paces before it carries people off the planet. 

Musk posted an eye-catching photo late Sunday showing the Crew Dragon inside an anechoic chamber. 

Sound-absorbing anechoic chambers have been described as the quietest places on Earth and can simulate the environment in space. The Crew Dragon is tucked inside one for electromagnetic interference testing, which is done to make sure a spacecraft's electrical systems will work properly.

This current round of testing is a precursor to moving the capsule to NASA's Plum Brook Station facility in Ohio, home to the world's largest vacuum chamber. The space agency built the vacuum chamber to test its Orion crew vehicles, but it will work just as well for SpaceX's Crew Dragon.

"Dragon's first manned test flight is expected to take place as early as 2018," SpaceX says. Musk is still targeting 2024 for a mission to take both crew and cargo to Mars. But first, Crew Dragon will need to prove itself by acing its tests on the ground.

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