Featured Image - left to right: SpaceX Lead Space Operations Engineer Anna Menon, Veteran United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Scott ‘Kidd’ Poteet, Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman, and SpaceX Lead Space Operations Engineer Sarah Gillis. / Source: Polaris Program John Kraus
Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman made history as commander of SpaceX's first all-civilian Inspiration4 mission. He is funding a new spaceflight program called ‘Polaris,’ to test new technologies aboard Crew Dragon missions that will lead to Starship’s first crewed spaceflight. Isaacman lived an incredible adventure when he launched atop Falcon 9 aboard Crew Dragon Resilience and orbited around the Earth for three days in September 2021. The Inspiration4 mission crewmembers used their newfound fame to fundraise for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and raised over $200 million through their inspiring spaceflight.
In February, Isaacman announced that he purchased three more SpaceX flights that will also be dedicated to fundraise the children’s hospital and serve to test new spaceflight technologies. “The Polaris Program is a first-of-its-kind effort to rapidly advance human spaceflight capabilities, while continuing to raise funds and awareness for important causes here on Earth,” the program's website states.
The Polaris Program first mission is named "Polaris Dawn", it will launch Isaacman alongside: retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Scott ‘Kidd’ Poteet, SpaceX Lead Space Operations Engineer Sarah Gillis, and SpaceX Lead Space Operations Engineer Anna Menon. Gillis and Menon are great assets to fly into space because they both lead human spaceflight programs and operations at SpaceX – there is no better way to improve the spacecraft and astronaut training procedures than to experience spaceflight yourself. Their expertise and firsthand spaceflight experience will be useful and help the company enhance its human spaceflight operations.
The Polaris Dawn crew aims to achieve the highest Earth orbit ever flown where they will conduct the first commercial spacewalk outside of Crew Dragon and test SpaceX's new extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits, as well as test Starlink laser-based communication in orbit. The mission is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022.
The Polaris Dawn crew already started training for their spacewalk underwater at Catalina Island in Los Angeles, California. "The Polaris Dawn crew completed their first training events this week, participating in pool and ocean scuba dives in preparation for their mission’s extra-vehicular activity," program representatives announced and shared photos via Twitter, linked below. "We officially started training for Polaris Dawn this week, jumping into basic medical and scuba training to learn skills that will help us on the EVA!" said Gillis, "We started yesterday in the pool refreshing basic diving skills. Non-verbal communication and buddy support are key for safe diving and spaceflight! We wrapped up today at Catalina [Island] with some off-shore dives. Part of training is getting comfortable with uncomfortable situations! Thanks to the SpaceX team for an awesome start to training!" she wrote via Twitter.
The Polaris Dawn crew completed their first training events this week, participating in pool and ocean scuba dives in preparation for their mission’s extra-vehicular activity— Polaris (@PolarisProgram) May 21, 2022
Photos: @SpaceX pic.twitter.com/D8Ju4s0klX
This week we went down 🤿.. next week we go up 🗻 pic.twitter.com/49K5DcUf8T— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) May 21, 2022
We officially started training for Polaris Dawn this week, jumping into basic medical and scuba training to learn skills that will help us on the EVA! pic.twitter.com/fWCkJKO0UQ— Sarah Gillis (@Gillis_SarahE) May 20, 2022
We wrapped up today at Catalina with some off-shore dives. Part of training is getting comfortable with uncomfortable situations! ✅ Thanks to the @SpaceX team for an awesome start to training! pic.twitter.com/6PiLThHKYe— Sarah Gillis (@Gillis_SarahE) May 20, 2022
Featured Image Source: Polaris Program John Kraus
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.