SpaceX to launch Polaris Dawn mission no earlier than summer 2024

Polaris Dawn, the first of the three human spaceflight missions of the Polaris Program, is now targeting launch no earlier than summer 2024.

The private space mission is operated by SpaceX and funded by the American billionaire Jared Isaacman, who is one of the crew members of Polaris Dawn.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch the mission from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

After separation from the rocket, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will take the crew members to an altitude of 1400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, which will be the highest Earth orbit ever flown by a crewed spacecraft.

Currently, this altitude record is held by crewed Gemini 11 spacecraft. Gemini 11 reached an altitude of 1373 kilometers in 1966.

Some part of the journey of the spacecraft will pass through the inner Van Allen radiation belt, as the inner Van Allen radiation belt starts 1000 kilometers above the Earth.

One of the aims of the Polaris Dawn mission is to attempt the first commercial spacewalk
One of the aims of the Polaris Dawn mission is to attempt the first commercial spacewalk. (Image credit: Polaris)

The crew members will stay up to five days in Earth orbit, where they will attempt the first-ever commercial spacewalk at an altitude of approximately 700 kilometers above the Earth’s surface by wearing SpaceX-designed extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits.

The crew members of the Polaris Dawn mission are Jared Isaacman (mission commander), Scott Poteet (mission pilot), Sarah Gillis (mission specialist), and Anna Menon (mission specialist and medical officer).

There are many goals of the mission: the crew members will do the first commercial spacewalk, the first Starlink satellite internet test in space, and conduct scientific research on the effects of spaceflight and space radiation on human health.

Currently, the crew members are actively training in Hawthorne, California, to prepare themselves for the mission goals.

According to the statement from Polaris, “The additional time continues to provide necessary developmental time to ensure both the completion of these mission goals and a safe launch and return of Dragon and the crew.”

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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