Jared Isaacman talks about the timing of the Polaris Dawn mission

The commercial Polaris Dawn mission will be launched in the summer of 2023. This was told by its organizer, billionaire Jared Isaacman. The announcement was made at the SpaceCom conference held in the USA.

Polaris Dawn Mission Objectives

Polaris Dawn will be the first of three missions under the Polaris program. In addition to Isaacman, it will be attended by former US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Scott Poteet and SpaceX engineers, Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon. 

The concept of the Polaris Dawn mission. Source: Polaris

The upcoming flight has three main goals. Firstly, Crew Dragon with four private astronauts will have to enter 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 (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).

The second task will be to conduct scientific research. In total, during the five-day flight, the mission participants plan to perform over 35 scientific experiments. The objective of many of them will be to study the effect of increased radiation levels on the health of astronauts (the orbit of the Сrew Dragon will be so high that the spacecraft from time to time will cross the inner sections of the radiation belts of the Earth). The astronauts also plan to test the possibility of using the Starlink system to communicate with the Earth (usually ground stations and satellites of the TDRS system are used for this).

And finally, during the flight, the first ever commercial spacewalk will take place. The operation 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 to perform the procedure, the crew will have to depressurize the entire spacecraft. Spacesuits created by SpaceX will be used to go into space. The operation is expected to last about two hours.

Polaris Dawn Flight Date

Initially, the Polaris Dawn mission was scheduled for the end of 2022. But due to the need for additional training and changes to the design of the Crew Dragon, the flight was postponed to 2023. According to a recent statement by Isaacman, it will take place in the summer.

The crew of the Polaris Dawn mission. Source: Polaris Program / John Kraus.

As for the second and third missions, the billionaire did not provide any additional details. In September last year, NASA announced the study of the possibility of using the Crew Dragon spacecraft to raise the orbit of the Hubble telescope. But currently it is unknown what conclusions the organization’s experts come to. As for the third mission, it is planned to use the Starship spacecraft for it, which has yet to make its first orbital flight.

According to https://spacenews.com

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