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First private spacewalk mission gets date forecast; find out more

The mission Polaris Dawn funded by billionaire and founder of Shift4 Payments Jared Isaacman announced that it is expected to carry out its first manned flight on July 31, 2024. The mission is considered one of the most important private trips to date, as it plans to carry out the first spacewalk on a fully commercial flight.

To accomplish the historic feat, the crew will travel through space in a capsule Crew Dragon modified and will use the first commercial spacesuits in SpaceX .

The announcement was made in a message on X (formerly Twitter). It is the first of three private space expeditions that will be launched with the help of rockets from SpaceX, a space travel and transportation company. Elon Musk .

Despite the new launch date, the Polaris Dawn team has already postponed the first mission on a few occasions. The last time the flight was scheduled to launch was July 12. In addition to the spacewalk, the program will also conduct scientific research and tests with Starlink, the communications service of the satellite megaconstellation. SpaceX .

“After 2.5 years, it’s hard to believe that the day is getting closer. We have a great team, a great crew, a low-speed Crew Dragon, and very worthy goals. I’d say we’re excited to go after it,” Isaacman wrote in a message posted to X.

What is the Polaris Dawn mission?

In order to continue the mission’s efforts Inspiration4 carried out in 2021, the Polaris Dawn program was announced in 2022. Unlike other commercial missions carried out in recent years, the new flight will remain in space for longer and travel greater distances. In fact, it will be the longest distance reached by humans since the Apollo missions in the 1970s.

The spaceflight will be manned by the investor himself, Jared Isaacman. In addition to him, the mission includes retired US Air Force lieutenant and pilot, Colonel Scott “Kidd” Poteet, accompanied by SpaceX operations engineers and specialists Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon.

An illustration of the EVA spacesuit created for the Polaris Dawn mission, which plans to perform the first commercial spacewalk.

The crew will travel through space for approximately five days and are expected to reach a distance of up to 1,300 kilometers above Earth in a controlled orbit around the planet. The astronauts will also pass through the Van Allen radiation belts, a region that has not been visited since the end of the Apollo missions.

Polaris Dawn Mission Objectives

See below what are the main objectives of the private space mission.

  • First fully commercial spacewalk approximately 700 km above Earth;
  • Scientific studies on the health of humans in space, including collecting data to understand the effect of space radiation, measuring gas bubbles in the blood, and more;
  • Testing Starlink equipment more than 1,300 kilometers away from Earth;
  • Test of the first space suits commercials.

Astronauts plan to collect more data to understand spaceflight-associated neuroocular syndrome (SANS), one of the factors that underscore the importance of the Polaris Dawn program. The condition is considered a major problem for long-duration space travel, as microgravity affects spinal fluid pressure and can impair travelers’ vision.

The crew will also test SpaceX’s extravehicular activity (EVA) suits. In an official statement, the program says the suits are equipped with new thermal management fabrics, state-of-the-art helmets, and cameras. The innovation was inspired by the intravehicular activity (IVA) suits worn by the Inspiration4 crew, but offers greater mobility.

In total, the program selected 38 projects from 23 partner institutions to study a range of relevant topics to promote human health during long-duration spaceflight. The projects will undergo additional testing; the mission plans to release a list of approved experiments closer to the launch date.

Source: CNN Brasil

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