SpaceX announces the first space walk performed by space tourists and in which it will reach the highest Earth orbit in history on a mission of this type. It is the first goal of the Polaris program led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who has already been seen reaching space with the Inspiration4 mission. Polaris brings together three new missions, including the first manned trip of Starship, SpaceX’s largest spacecraft.
SpaceX’s new astronaut-tourists have gotten a taste for space travel, and after spending three days up there, they now intend to spend more time and go further on the first scheduled mission inside Polaris. On it, Isaacman and the rest of the crew will take their first spacewalk and assess the impact of space radiation on health.
Two other missions will follow this historic journey, the most impressive of which will be the Starship rocket. Its first manned voyage will be the definitive starting signal for the human journey to Mars, for which this gigantic rocket has been built.
Polaris, SpaceX’s new space program
We won’t have to wait long to see the first of the Polaris missions in action. Dawn is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022 and will mark a new page in the history of space travel after the Apollo missions of the 1970s.
The crew will reach the highest orbit yet, known as the Van Allen radiation belt. On Inspiration 4’s journey, these same occupants reached as far as 575 kilometers (357 miles) from Earth, farther than the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble space telescope missions.
For 5 days they will travel in the Crew Dragon spacecraft, i.e. the same capsule they already used on the previous trip, and will leave the spacecraft on a spacewalk to perform certain tests. For the launch, the Falcon 9 rocket will be used, both are reusable in order to reduce costs with each new mission performed by this private space company.
Billionaire Jared Isaacman will again be accompanied by SpaceX engineers Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon, and Armed Forces pilot Scott Poteet. This time Isaacman will be the mission commander; this position was held by Pottet on the previous trip. Everyone’s job on the voyage is to serve as observation patients and monitor their health during the five-day voyage.
The spacewalk is intended to study how exposure to the radiation found at that altitude will affect the brain, eyes and other organs. On previous SpaceX trips, passengers have worn Apple watches, cell phones and tablets to monitor their health at all times.
Another interesting aspect of this mission will be to test the company’s spacesuits in order to improve them for the future. NASA, with whom SpaceX works, is having some problems with the design of its suits for missions as important as the return to the Moon.
Other Polaris missions
Not much more is known about the next Polaris missions, only that the third one will feature the company’s new rocket, its big bet to conquer new planets.
Starship is the largest rocket ever built. It is reusable and can carry large loads of materials to reach Mars and create habitats for the first humans to set foot on the red planet. However, its first manned trip will not be as important.
The third mission within the Polaris program will be Starship’s grand premiere, when it will finally carry people inside, but there are not many details about this trip.