SpaceX flew the huge Starship spaceship for the first time last week. However, after the commercial space agency triggered the rocket’s termination system after four minutes into the flight due to fault, the rocket exploded and disintegrated into smaller pieces. Despite the explosion, SpaceX officials referred to this orbital test flight as a huge success recorded by the company. The shift4 founder Jared Isaacman was so excited with the success accomplished by the starship that he tweeted, “A big step towards a more exciting future. Congratulations SpaceX on the big test.” Isaac man knew that he will be among the first people to fly to space aboard the SpaceX starship after a successful testing for the Polaris Dawn mission.
SpaceX has previously announced that the first humans to be launched on the Starship will be the crewmembers participating in the third of the Polaris program which started with the Polaris Dawn mission. However, Isaacman lately unveiled that the Polaris Dawn mission could be launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket in late summer this year. During this impressive mission, the Polaris Dawn crew is expected to conduct the first commercial spacewalk in the history of mankind. This will be the best space launch to watch in recent times.
When Will the Polaris Dawn Mission Commence?
The Polaris Dawn mission was first scheduled to launch toward the end of 2022. But the mission was later delayed due to extra training requirements the civilian crew have to meet before commencing on the mission. Conducting spacewalk in the weightless environment of space requires a lot of planning and training, especially for non-astronaut candidates.
Hence, the mission was purposely extended to enable the civilian crew to train more and get ready for the dangers they might encounter in space. SpaceX also needed more time to do additional modifications to the Crew Dragon capsule that will transport the crewmates to space.
A Twitter user asked billionaire Jared Isaacman who funded the Polaris Dawn mission the fate of this amazing space project if the summer launch is still possible. The billionaire responded with these simple words. “I am optimistic late summer is still a real possibility. That is what we are training towards,” Isaacman, the mission commander for Polaris Dawn wrote.
How the Polaris Dawn Mission will Commence
The Polaris Dawn mission which will likely commence by late summer this year will carry a crew of four civilian crewmates including, Jared Isaacman, Scott Pottet, Sarah Gillis, and Anna Menon. These crewmembers are not trained, astronauts. However, they all have experience in spaceflight and aviation operations.
The mission will commence aboard a Crew Dragon capsule stacked atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the Inspiration 4 mission, SpaceX launched Isaacman and three other civilian crew on a mission to orbit around the Earth for four days. However, for the Polaris Dawn mission, SpaceX is looking at taking spaceflight further into space.
“Polaris Dawn will take advantage of Falcon 9 and Dragon’s maximum performance, flying higher than any Dragon mission to date and endeavoring to reach the highest Earth orbit ever flown,” the organization explains on its website.
As soon the spacecraft arrives in orbit, it will execute the highest altitude spacewalk ever conducted by humans. This will be the first spacewalk performed outside the Crew Dargon. The crew will also fly through the Van Allen radiation belt region to obtain more scientific data about this region of space for further space missions.
“Orbiting through portions of the Van Allen radiation belt, Polaris Dawn will conduct research with the aim of better understanding the effects of spaceflight and space radiation on human health,” the organization explains.
The Polaris Dawn mission will surely unlock several milestones for mankind. Aside from setting the record as the highest altitude ever conducted by humans, the mission will be the first spacewalk out of a crew dragon. We all should look forward to the late summer of 2023 for this mission. What do you think about this upcoming space mission?