Crew of Polaris Dawn ready to start training

The crew of the Polaris Dawn mission will begin training this month. This was told by its commander, billionaire Jared Isaacman.

Polaris Program

Until recently, the name of Jared Isaacman was practically unknown to the public. Everything changed in early 2021, when he announced his decision to sponsor the Inspiration4 mission — the first private flight into orbit with an exclusively civilian crew. The main purpose of the mission was to raise funds to support the St. Jude Children’s Hospital and fight cancer.

Jared Isaacman. Source: Polaris Program / John Kraus

In September 2021, the Crew Dragon spacecraft with the participants of the Inspiration4 mission went into space. In total, they spent three days in space, after which they successfully returned to Earth.

Anna Menon, Scott Poteet, Jared Isaacman and Sarah Gillis. Source: Polaris Program / John Kraus

Already in February 2022, Isaakman announced the launch of his new space project, called Polaris. As part of it, he will finance at least three private space expeditions on Crew Dragon and Starship spacecraft. The first flight (Polaris Dawn mission) is scheduled for the end of this year. Its commander will be Isaakman, the crew will also include former US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Scott Poteet, and SpaceX engineers Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon.

Polaris Dawn Mission

Unlike the Inspiration4 mission, which had a charitable focus, the main goals of Polaris Dawn will be to conduct scientific research and test the capabilities of Crew Dragon. In a recent interview, Isaakman said that the crew would begin training this month and confirmed that the spacecraft would be launched into orbit with an apogee of 1400 km. Thus, Polaris Dawn will surpass the record set back in 1966 by the Gemini 11 mission, which reached an altitude of 1,372 km (of course, the Apollo expeditions moved away from Earth at a much greater distance, but they did it during flights to the Moon, and not in near Earth orbit).

Concept of the Polaris Dawn mission. Source: Polaris

One of the main priorities of the mission will be to study the effect of increased radiation levels on the health of astronauts — after all, at the apogee, Crew Dragon will take place near the inner boundary of the Earth’s radiation belts. Another task of the expedition is to carry out the first ever private spacewalk. It will be performed at an altitude of 500 km, which is comparable to the height of the Hubble telescope’s orbit.

Since Crew Dragon does not have a separate airlock compartment, in order to perform the procedure, the crew will have to depressurize the entire spacecraft (Gemini astronauts also went into space according to a similar scheme). In addition, astronauts will need spacesuits capable of withstanding a spacewalk. So far, SpaceX has not released any images of the suits designed for the Polaris Dawn mission. But, according to Isaakman, outwardly they resemble the spacesuits in which crew members of Crew Dragon are during takeoff and return to Earth.

So far, SpaceX has not announced the exact launch date of Polaris Dawn. But it is reported that it will go into space no earlier than November of this year.

According to

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