Billionaire's new 'Polaris Program' poised to set many space records

The Polaris Program is led by Shift4's Jared Isaacman, using SpaceX Dragon for the first flight, Project Dawn, and later Starship.

Published Tue, Feb 15 2022 4:21 AM CST   |   Updated Sat, Mar 12 2022 5:57 PM CST

The mission is led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, founder of the online payment processing company Shift4.

Billionaire's new 'Polaris Program' poised to set many space records 01 |

After leading Inspiration4, the first all-civilian spaceflight aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, in September 2021, Isaacman has now unveiled the Polaris Program. The program involves three commercial spaceflights, beginning with SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft and culminating in the first crewed launch of SpaceX's upcoming Starship.

The first of these flights is dubbed Project Dawn, where Isaacman hopes to achieve "the highest Earth orbit ever flown," beating the previous record of 853 miles (1,373 km) high, set in 1966 by NASA's Gemini 11 astronauts, Charles "Pete" Conrad and Richard "Dick" Gordon.

"Ultimately, it will really come down to vehicle performance and what we're able to accomplish while ensuring that we have a path to come home safely," said mission specialist Sarah Gillis.

Additionally, in the lower portion of the mission's orbit at around 300 miles (500 km) above Earth, at least two Polaris Dawn crew members will attempt the first commercial extravehicular activity (EVA), commonly known as a spacewalk. The crew members aboard the mission will all wear SpaceX's newly designed spacesuits for the EVA. The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft does not have an airlock, and the entire cabin will need to be depressurized before the crew can open the hatch for an EVA.

"The development of these suits and the execution of the EVA will be important steps toward the scalable design for spacesuits for future long duration missions," Isaacman said.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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