BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — First came Inspiration-4, an all-civilan mission to space, and now, SpaceX and tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman are partnering again for the Polaris Program.
The Polaris Program will consist of three human spaceflight missions that will culminate with the “first crewed starship flight.”
The first mission could launch before the end of this year.
Isaacman bankrolled the SpaceX Inspiration-4 mission back in September and helped raise $240 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the process.
Now, Isaacman plans to lead a series of pioneering SpaceX missions under the Polaris Program.
“What they’re doing now is really establishing an ongoing program, because with what Jared Isaacman is putting in place is really its own sort of program that will no doubt trigger others to want to do the same,” said Dale Ketchum of Space Florida.
During the first mission dubbed “Polaris Dawn,” the crew will attempt the first-ever commercial spacewalk from a Crew Dragon in SpaceX-designed extravehicular activity spacesuits.
They will also be the first crew to test the Starlink laser-based communications in space, providing valuable data for future space communications.
“It’s happening here at the Cape, and it puts pressure on all of us here to further put in place the infrastructure so all of this activity can occur efficiently, quickly, with minimum impact to everybody else,” Ketchum said, “but continue to grow the human enterprise in space.”
The crew for Polaris Dawn will consist of Isaacman, who is the mission commander, pilot Scott Poteet and mission specialists Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon.
The crew will spend five days in orbit, flying higher than any Dragon mission to date, and they’ll continue to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The Polaris Program will culminate with the first crewed spaceflight on SpaceX’s starship, the spacecraft being developed to carry humans to the Moon and Mars.
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