Inspiration4 astronaut and Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman funded the Polaris Program to help SpaceX advance spaceflight technologies. He purchased two Crew Dragon flights and one Starship flight. The Polaris Program's first “Dawn” mission 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. Their mission will liftoff sometime over the Summer. The crew has been actively training for the historic flight during which they will perform the first-ever civilian spacewalk to test SpaceX’s new extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits.
Isaacman aims to use every inspiring spaceflight to also raise awareness for solving issues on Earth, like fighting childhood cancer. He has made significant monetary donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since his first SpaceX Inspiration4 mission spaceflight in September 2021. Read more: SpaceX Makes History As It Launches First All-Civilian Crew
Earlier this month, the Polaris Program announced that it donated SpaceX Starlink kits to access satellite internet to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital locations across five countries, including: Philippines, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mozambique. “Tackling important issues here on Earth such as childhood cancer and improving connectivity are core tenets of the Polaris Program. Our team recently visited the Philippines to deliver Starlinks to a local hospital and meet with patients and doctors,” program representatives Tweeted on May 2nd. The Polaris Dawn crew visited the Southern Philippines Medical Center-Davao City. “Starlink enables greater access to healthcare and medical services, especially for those in remote locations. Thanks to the Polaris Program, this St. Jude hospital in the Philippines is better connected with researchers and doctors worldwide,” SpaceX Starlink division captioned photos, linked below.
“The Polaris Program is proud to continue partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and help support its vision that no child should die — anywhere — in the dawn of life,” said Polaris Dawn mission commander Jared Isaacman. During their visit, the Polaris Dawn crew demonstrated Starlink’s capabilities by communicating with doctors across the world via the satellite internet network. “I believe that having a good internet connection will allow us to reach these kids, to communicate with doctors on the ground and to guide their treatment, to save lives and to decrease suffering for patients everywhere,” said Dr. Mae Dolendo of the Southern Philippines Medical Center & House of Hope.
“Simultaneously, we brought clinics in Peru, Chile, and Brazil online with high-speed, low-latency broadband internet provided by Starlink,” shared Polaris Dawn philanthropy director John Baum. “We look forward to Mozambique having service later this year.”
“Fast and reliable internet is crucial for these doctors to provide the best care to the children that make it to their clinics. Not only are these children fighting a terrible disease, they’re also faced with the challenge of access to healthcare from austere locations,” Baum added.
In October last year, the Polaris Program donated $500,000 USD to provide Starlink service to over 100 schools in Brazil and Chile that did not have internet in their remote communities. “The donation from Polaris will connect more than 50 schools in Chile to quality internet, contributing to the development of more than 7,500 students and more than 700 teachers. This technological tool, complemented by an educational component of teacher training, allows us to continue improving educational quality and bringing opportunities to children,” said Tomás Recart, executive director of Enseña Chile, at the time of the donation.
SpaceX’s Starlink constellation of approximately 4,127 satellites operating in Low Earth Orbit provide internet service to over 1.5 million subscribers globally. The company continues to launch satellites almost on a weekly basis to rapidly expand the network’s coverage and increase bandwidth.
Starlink enables greater access to healthcare and medical services, especially for those in remote locations.— Starlink (@Starlink) May 15, 2023
Thanks to the @PolarisProgram, this @StJude hospital in the Philippines is better connected with researchers and doctors worldwide 🛰️🌎🩺 https://t.co/6J1ybaGKjG
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Featured Images Source: SpaceX Polaris Program
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.