SpaceX's private Polaris Dawn mission now targeting March 2023

SpaceX,asteroid,space knowlwge, spacewalk, NASA's Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Polaris Dawn mission
The Polaris Dawn crew, from left to right: Anna Menon, Scott "Kidd" Poteet, Jared Isaacman and
Sarah Gillis. (Image credit: Polaris Program/John Kraus)


The first commercial spacewalk won't take place this year after all.

According to the Polaris Program website, the company organizing the trip, SpaceX's private Polaris Dawn mission to Earth orbit, has been deferred from late 2022 to no sooner than March 2023.

Polaris Dawn will launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida's Launch Complex 39A on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The first all-private crewed trip to Earth orbit, Inspiration4, was launched from that same site in September 2021.

Polaris Dawn will be led by millionaire internet entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, who also sponsored and piloted the four-person Inspiration4. Polaris Dawn will also travel to Earth orbit on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft like Inspiration4, and the upcoming mission will soar a little higher.

The Polaris Dawn mission, which will launch no earlier than March 2023,
will feature the first-ever commercial spacewalk.
 (Image credit: Polaris Program)

Polaris Program spokespeople stated in a mission statement that Polaris Dawn "would make use of Falcon 9 and Dragon's maximal capabilities, flying higher than any Dragon mission to date and attempting to achieve the highest Earth orbit ever flown" (opens in new tab). Polaris Dawn will perform research while orbiting through parts of the Van Allen radiation belt to understand better how space travel and space radiation affect human health.

If all goes according to plan, the mission will also include the first commercial spacewalk, which will be carried out at around 435 miles (700 kilometres). As an illustration: On average, the International Space Station circles the planet at approximately 250 miles (400 km).

As a significant objective of Inspiration4, Isaacman and his three crew members also hope to collect money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

Isaacman finances the Polaris Program, which aims to improve human spaceflight capabilities and maybe assist our race in returning to the moon and making the jump to Mars. The program also prioritizes earning money for deserving organizations and causes, including St. Jude's.

If all goes according to plan, the program will launch three missions in total. Although we don't know much else about the second mission—which is ostensibly still in the early planning stages—it will also use a Dragon.

Late this month, Isaacman raised an intriguing prospect, saying that Polaris flight two would help NASA's Hubble Space Telescope by boosting its orbit and possibly providing additional services. The success of a joint NASA-SpaceX study looking at the viability of a Dragon trip to Hubble will determine the mission's ultimate objective.

The third Polaris trip will mark the launch of SpaceX's enormous Starship craft, which the firm is constructing to transport people and cargo to Mars and beyond, on its first crewed mission. The first crewed lander for NASA's Artemis moon mission will be Starship.

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