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In late 2022, “probably December,” Shift4 Payments CEO Jared Isaacman plans to launch Polaris Dawn, a privately funded human spaceflight mission, which SpaceX will manage on his behalf.The Crew Dragon capsule will be used for the flight, which marks the first of three scheduled flights in the Polaris program.

The privately sponsored Polaris Program is preparing for its first crewed deployment on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship in December. This mission will also feature the first private mission spacewalk.The billionaire behind Inspiration4, which is a private astronaut mission that managed to spend three days in space in September 2021, Jared Isaacman, unveiled the Polaris Program in February. He described it as a series of flights to gain expertise in human spaceflight. Isaacman and 3 other people will be transported on the first expedition, Polaris Dawn, which will last five days.

In a speech on July 29 at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture air show based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Isaacman predicted that the mission will take off later this year. “December is likely” because we are currently staring at the close of the year.Its three main objectives are as follows. One is to launch Crew Dragon into the highest apogee for a crewed expedition in Earth orbit, 1,400 kilometers, and fly it there. Another is to check the functionality of Starlink, a constellation of satellites from SpaceX.

The third, and arguably most challenging, is a spacewalk, or EVA (extravehicular activity), which will be the first from a Crew Dragon spacecraft and for a private mission. “There’s a lot of new work going on to support it,” noted SpaceX’s Anna Menon, another part of the Polaris Dawn crew.

This calls for both the creation of a spacesuit as well as improvements to the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s life support systems since the entire cabin is going to be pressurized before and then depressurized during the spacewalk. ” We will be able to capitalize on what we learn from the suit development which is taking place for this journey as we travel to the moon and eventually Mars,” she said.That spacewalk will be a major area of concentration during the months of preparation before launch. According to Isaacman, “the later part of the year is very loaded to the ops of EVA.”

“This is an advancement program, and as a portion of that, we’re designing an entirely new training curriculum,” added Sarah Gillis, another SpaceX staff who is flying on the flight. “I believe we will gain a lot of knowledge along the way.”More than 35 experiments, many of them geared for the higher orbit’s heightened radiation environment, are scheduled for the 5-day mission, according to Menon. “That’s something that we’re going to need to comprehend for moon and Mars missions.”

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