Rob Adkisson (right), chief engineer with the Commercial Group Program of the Boeing Co., and David Schiller, who works in composites and thermal production at the Boeing Huntington Beach test facility, examine a capsule heat shield component that will undergo testing to ensure the CST-100 Starliner operates as designed. Boeing is developing the Starliner capsule to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times/TNS)

In space capsules today, little room but big improvement

Boeing and SpaceX are relying on a tried-and-true design as they each develop new spacecraft.

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