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SpaceX's private Polaris Dawn mission now targeting March 2023

Polaris Dawn will feature the first-ever commercial spacewalk.

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

According to the Polaris Program website, the company organizing the flight, 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 mission to Earth orbit, Inspiration4, was launched from that same launch 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, but the upcoming mission will soar a little higher.

Polaris Program spokespeople stated in a mission statement that Polaris Dawn "would take advantage of Falcon 9 and Dragon's maximal capabilities, flying higher than any Dragon mission to date and attempting to reach the highest Earth orbit ever flown".

Polaris Dawn will perform research while orbiting through parts of the Van Allen radiation belt in order to better understand how space travel and space radiation affect human health.

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

A major objective of Inspiration4 as well, Isaacman and his three crew members also hope to collect money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

Isaacman funds the Polaris Program, which aims to improve human spaceflight capabilities and maybe assist our species in returning to the moon and making the jump to Mars. The programme also priorities earning money for deserving organisations and causes, like St. Jude's.

If everything goes according to plan, the programme 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 mission 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 company 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 programme will be Starship.

Edited By : Ankit Biswas (LinkedIn)

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