Jared Isaacman’s ‘Polaris Programme’ to set space records

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All three commercial spaceflights will be launched on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft by November or December this year…reports Asian Lite News

Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who flew to Earth orbit on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule last year, has now bought three new missions with the Elon Musk-led company.

Isaacman is the 39-year-old founder of Shift4, an online payment processing company, and the commander of the first “all-civilian” space mission Inspiration4, which was launched last year.

He announced that he’s purchased three spaceflights with SpaceX, and named the series “Polaris Programme” that would take him deeper into space on the company’s spacecraft, Space.com reported.

All three commercial spaceflights will be launched on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft by November or December this year.

“The Polaris Programme is an important step in advancing human space exploration while helping to solve problems through the use of innovative technology here on Earth,” Isaacman was quoted as saying in a statement.

The programme’s first launch, dubbed “Polaris Dawn,” will launch Isaacman as mission commander.

The other three crewmates, include pilot Scott “Kidd” Poteet, a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force who served as the mission director for Inspiration4, mission specialist Sarah Gillis, who oversees SpaceX’s astronaut training programme, and medical officer Anna Menon, who manages the development of SpaceX’s crew operations while also serving the company’s mission control.

The Polaris Dawn crew will expand upon the achievements of the record-setting Inspiration4 mission.

In September 2021, Isaacman and his three Inspiration4 crewmates (Sian Proctor, Hayley Arceneaux and Chris Sembroski) spent three days aboard a Dragon spacecraft in Earth orbit, reaching a maximum altitude of 565 kilometres — the fifth-highest orbital human spaceflight in history.

“On Polaris Dawn, we endeavour to achieve the highest Earth orbit ever flown,” Isaacman said.

That record is currently set at 1,373 km, as achieved by NASA’s Gemini 11 astronauts, Charles “Pete” Conrad and Richard “Dick” Gordon, in 1966, the report said.

One of the Polaris Dawn mission’s objectives is to collect data on the effects of space radiation exposure on human health.

At approximately 500 km above Earth, two of the Polaris Dawn crew members will also attempt the first commercial extravehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk, the report said.

The flight would also serve as another St. Jude fundraising opportunity as Inspiration4.

Further, the flight would also test out SpaceX’s Starlink “laser-based communications in space,” tapping into the massive satellite constellation the company is building to provide global broadband coverage, the Verge reported.

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