The new SpaceX Polaris missions are the future of space exploration

The new SpaceX Polaris missions are the future of space exploration

The Polaris program is a joint effort involving SpaceX and Jared Isaacman, the tech entrepreneur and billionaire who funded and commanded the Inspiration4 manned orbital mission to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in September 2021.

Polaris aims to launch three manned missions into space, ultimately culminating in the first manned flight of SpaceX's Starship vehicle. The program will also see SpaceX's first astronauts take to the skies in new spacesuits and more. The program's first mission, Polaris Dawn, does not have a fixed launch date.

The three-mission series is named after what humans have historically called the "Polar Star", which is actually a system of three different stars. The mission will see Isaacman fly alongside SpaceX employees Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon and pilot Scott Poteet. “I can't tell you how honored I am to work with such an experienced crew that I trust and deeply respect,” Isaacman said today.

Isaacman previously funded Inspiration4, which raised over $ 240 million for the research hospital. He has announced that he will also finance the Polaris missions. These missions will also see the first spacewalk from a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft (before a crew is launched on Starship). This planned extravehicular activity (EVA) is part of the project for SpaceX to test new spacesuits.

"There is a fantastic team of brilliant engineers working on the spacesuit. And it will be really exciting to work together as their design develops, ”said Menon, chief engineer of space operations at SpaceX and mission specialist for Polaris Dawn.

And, as Isaacman shared his excitement, so did the rest of the crew. "I served 20 years in the Air Force piloting the F-16. Most recently, I was one of the directors of Inspiration4 and I am proud to be here for the opportunity to serve as a mission pilot for Polaris Dawn, ”said Poteet.

credits: SpaceX / Elon Musk via Twitter “I am very excited and honored to be part of the Polaris Dawn crew and to represent our incredible team at SpaceX. I have worked for both NASA and SpaceX and in both places I have supported our astronauts on this mission. I'm thrilled to be on the other side, ”said Menon.

Isaacman noted that the Polaris missions will focus on research for the benefit not only of future exploration, but also of life on Earth. As Isaacman shared, all three Polaris missions "include an extensive list of scientific research and payloads with the aim of testing next-generation technologies that will support future long-duration human spaceflight and inspire the world on all possibilities. that exist in the last great frontier. ”

To achieve these scientific goals, the program, which will raise funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as did Inspiration4, will also work with the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) of Baylor College of Medicine, Weill Cornell School of Medicine and other partners. And both SpaceX and Isaacman believe in the future that such research holds.

“This program was specially designed to advance long-range spaceflight capabilities and guide us towards the ultimate goal of facilitating the exploration of Mars, ”Isaacman said. “Perhaps one of the most important points to reinforce here is the overwhelming belief we have that we can make progress in space for tomorrow.”

Also, despite being a private collaboration between SpaceX and Isaacman, there is a lot of attention being paid on this work that will bring potential benefits to space flight and exploration as a whole. “It's not just about SpaceX,” Gillis said. "It is really hoped that it will open access to space for all".

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