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 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.
The first mission, scheduled for March 2023, will launch the Polaris Dawn crew aboard Dragon on a voyage to the highest altitude any human has been to since astronauts last visited the Moon half-a-century ago. The quartet will orbit Earth at an altitude of around 1,400 kilometers and they will also perform the first-ever civilian spacewalk to test SpaceX’s new extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits.
On October 26, the Polaris Program announced it donated $500,000 USD to connect over 100 schools in Chile and Brazil to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service. “Increasing internet connectivity to communities around the world is one of the core tenets of Polaris Dawn, the first of the Polaris Program’s three human spaceflight missions. SpaceX is working with nonprofit organizations – Enseña Chile in Chile and MegaEdu in Brazil – to identify schools in each country in need of great internet. Starlinks are being delivered to schools in Chile throughout October, followed by Brazil in November,” said Polaris Program representatives in a press release.
SpaceX operates the world’s largest broadband satellite constellation in Low Earth Orbit that actively beams internet data to over 40 countries in all seven continents. The space-based network is ideal to connect rural and remote regions around Earth where traditional internet infrastructures are unreliable or completely unavailable. “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.
“Isolated schools in Brazil must have reliable high-speed internet to provide their students equitable opportunities, and a satellite-powered solution is essential to reach these schools, especially in the Amazon region,” said MegaEdu CEO Cristieni Castilhos. “This donation will allow underserved Brazilian schools to use this innovative technology.” The children at the San Miguel de Quintrilpe school, located in La Araucanía region in Chile, video called the Polaris Dawn crew via the Starlink network, see the video clip below. The 80 students had the opportunity to ask the crew questions about their future spaceflight missions. The company also sent the young students SpaceX brand T-shirts. “Access to information is foundational to solving many of the world’s problems. Starlink connectivity is an example of how progress in space benefits those on Earth,” said Isaacman.
There are 3+ million schools & 1+ billion students without access to internet. That lack of connectivity is a barrier to solving so many challenges. Investments in space, like Starlink, can make 🌍 a better place. @PolarisProgram was happy to support such an important effort🚀 https://t.co/V2ioQQDhod— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) October 26, 2022
Featured Image Source: Polaris Dawn via Twitter
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.