The billionaire leader of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission will be flying into space with a group of new colleagues. Shift4 CEO Jared Isakman, and SpaceX announced the creation of the Polaris Dawn on Monday, February 14, a mission that aims to move the Crew Dragon capsule into high Earth orbit in late 2022.
The mission will be the start of the Polaris program, which aims to conduct human spaceflight and fund causes on Earth. “The Polaris program will consist of up to three human space missions that will showcase new technologies, conduct extensive research, and eventually culminate in SpaceX’s Starship’s first flight with humans on board.The program reads. Three crew members with extensive experience in flight operations or space flights will join Isaacman: Scott Petite, Sarah Gillies, and Anna Menon.
The goals of this new mission include attempting the first commercial spacewalk, testing Starlink’s laser-based communications in space, and performing various science experiments. The Polars Dawn mission is expected to take off from Slope 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida in November 2022 with a Falcon 9 rocket. This Dragon mission will take advantage of the maximum performance of Falcon 9 and Dragon, flying higher than any Dragon mission performed to date and striving to reach the highest orbit I land at all. Orbiting parts of the Van Allen radiation belt, Polaris Dawn will conduct research with the goal of better understanding the effects of spaceflight and space radiation on human health.
The Polars Dawn mission is expected to take off from Slope 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in November 2022 with a Falcon 9 rocket. This Dragon mission will benefit from the maximum performance of the Falcon 9 and Dragon, flying higher than any Dragon mission performed to date and striving to reach even higher Earth orbit at all. Gemini 11 in 1966 reached its peak of about 1,375 kilometres. Orbiting parts of the Van Allen radiation belt, Polaris Dawn will conduct research with the goal of better understanding the effects of spaceflight and space radiation on human health. Dragon and the crew of Polaris Dawn will spend up to five days in orbit. While in orbit, the SpaceX mission control center will closely monitor Dragon and the crew. The first commercial spacewalk will be attempted in an EVA spacesuit designed by SpaceX, upgraded from the current in-vehicle suit (IVA), that used at launch and re-entry. The development of this suit and the implementation of EVA will be important steps toward a scalable design for spacesuits on long-duration missions in the future. Since the Crew Dragon spacecraft does not have an airlock, all four crew members will have to wear cabin decompression suits in order to go into space. Polaris Dawn will become the first crew to test Starlink’s laser communications in space, providing valuable data for future space communications systems needed for human spaceflights to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
In the technical illustration, Crew Dragon’s extravehicular activity is projected during Polaris Dawn. Credits: Polaris.
Scientific research aimed at enhancing human health on Earth and our understanding of human health will be conducted during future long-duration spaceflights. Among these scientific research is the use of ultrasound to monitor, detect and quantify venous gas emboli (VGE), which contributes to studies on the prevalence of decompression sickness in humans; collecting data on the radioactive environment in order to better understand how space radiation affects human biological systems; Supply of biological samples for polyatomic analyzes for a long-term biobank; and research into the spaceflight-associated neuro-ophthalmic syndrome (SANS), which represents a major risk to human health during long spaceflights. SpaceX and Polaris Dawn will also collaborate with the Transformational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH), BioServe Space Technology at the University of Colorado, at Boulder, the Space Technologies Laboratory at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the US Air Force Academy.
Below are the mini biographies of the Polaris Dawn crew:
Jared AskmanThe 38-year-old is a spaceflight veteran who took command of the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission that flew into Earth orbit in September 2021. He paid for the flight, having become a billionaire as founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments. In addition to his work, he has done pilot assignments including sailing around the world at high speed and air shows and owning a jet pilot training company (Draken International) with nearly 6,000 hours of flying experience. Inspiration4 and Polaris Dawn are the first two in a series of scheduled flights that Isaacman will take with different crews. Inspiration4 has been all about philanthropy, raising more than $240 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, and Isaacman told The Washington Post he hopes upcoming missions will benefit humanity as well. He said Isaac would have agreed to take the additional flights only if “They serve the larger purpose of opening space to everyone and making humanity a multi-planetary species and, ideally, getting an edge on the things we’re trying to achieve here on Earth.“
Scott “Kid” Petit, age not disclosed, is a retired United States Air Force (USAF) lieutenant colonel and pilot with over 3,200 flight hours on aircraft including the F-16, A-4, T-38, T-37, T-3 and Alpha Jet, according to his biography in Polaris Dawn. He also has over 400 hours of combat during operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Joint Guardian, Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support. His 20 years in the Air Force included several senior positions, as commander of the 64th Aggressor Squadron, USAF Thunderbird No. 4, the operational test and evaluation of the pilot and flight examiner. Poteet arrives on a mission as an old collaborator with Isaacman. His roles have included Director of Business Development at Draken International, as well as Vice President of Strategy at Shift4, both Isaacman companies. Poteet was also the manager of the Inspiration4 mission. Aside from his work, Kidd has competed in 15 Ironman races since 2000 and is described as “skilled college runner“.
Pictured is the crew of the Polaris Dawn mission. Credits: Polaris.
Sarah Gillies, the undisclosed age, is SpaceX’s chief space operations engineer. This role makes her responsible for the company’s new astronaut training program, for missions such as Inspiration4, along with NASA’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 and Crew-1 missions. Her resume states that Gillis is also well versed in mission control operations, including serving as a navigational officer for cargo resupply missions on the Dragon and crew hubs for human spaceflight missions on the Dragon. Gillis joined SpaceX in 2015 as an intern while studying engineering and dance at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her original career ambition was to become a classical violinist, but she changed her direction toward aeronautical engineering through conversations with her high school teacher: former NASA astronaut Joe Tanner. In her spare time, Gillies enjoys hiking, climbing, and camping in the wilderness.
Anna Menon, age unknown, is SpaceX’s chief space operations engineer, directs crew operations development, and works in the company’s mission control as mission manager and crew liaison. His primary mission control missions, critical mandates, include NASA’s Demo-2 and Crew-1 manned spaceflights, along with the CRS-22 and CRS-23 unmanned cargo missions. “During his tenure at SpaceX, he led the deployment of Dragon crew capabilities, helped establish the role of crew communications operator, and developed critical operational responses to in-vehicle emergencies such as fire or vehicle depressurization.states his autobiography. Menon’s previous role was for seven years at NASA, working as a biomedical flight controller for the International Space Station. This role included aspects such as supporting space station crews in orbit, working with international partner engineers and healthcare service providers and the role Principal of Biomedical Operations on Expedition 47/48. As a biomedical engineer, Menon has worked to apply that expertise to organizations including the World Health Organization, Engineers Without Borders, and Global Health Engineering. Menon says his passion for space began in the fourth grade, when he was able to On visiting NASA on an “immersive journey.” His teacher, Allison Smith Balch, was the daughter of Space Shuttle Challenger pilot Michael J. Smith; Elder Smith died in the 1986 Shuttle Challenger crash.
In the technical illustration, the moment of separation between Super Heavy and Starship. Credits: SpaceX.
The timeline for future Polaris missions is currently uncertain, in part due to the ongoing development of the Starship. That car has yet to make its first attempt at orbital flight, and the Federal Aviation Administration announced on February 14 that it will push back the deadline for completing an environmental review required for a Starship launch license from February 28 to February 28. March. That first manned orbital flight will come only after several unmanned launches, including those of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation. “Long before joining the Starship at the conclusion of the Polaris program, there will be a lot of Starlink missions, I’m sure more cargo and cargo missions first,“Isaacman said during a press conference with SpaceX officials. He added that he is interested in leading the first manned spacecraft mission.”Let’s solve Polaris Dawn and then we’ll think about the next mission and eventually we’ll see one day a spacecraft with humans on board.“
Thanks to the versatile Crew Dragon capsule, SpaceX has truly opened the doors to commercial manned spaceflight. In fact, we remind you that in addition to last year’s Inspiration4 and this series of Polaris missions, the first Axiom mission is also about to depart, scheduled for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) next March 30 with Commander Michael Lopez Alegria, astronaut A former NASA employee hired by Axiom Space, Eitan Steppe of Israel, Larry Connor of the United States, and Mark Bathy of Canada. The four will remain aboard the International Space Station for eight days, during which they will conduct various experiments. Therefore, Boeing still regrets its failure, to date, on the Starliner capsule whose program was, in fact, behind SpaceX.
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