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First Private Spacewalk Scheduled for late 2022

Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 and commander of the secret Inspiration4 orbital mission, is planning three new private space missions that will include the first private Spacewalk and a flight aboard SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft.  On September 15, 2021, a fundamentally different space mission lifted off a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 575 km, it was the first completely private mission in history, with a privately owned and operated rocket putting a privately owned and operated craft into space with private astronauts on a private charter. Building on the success of this three-day flight, Isaacman now wants to send three more secret missions into Earth orbit to conduct bio-research and raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The first of the Polaris Program missions, Polaris Dawn, is scheduled to lift off in “no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2022” under the command of Isaacman, while a later mission will put the first astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft. Isaacman says the five-day Polaris Dawn mission will lift off from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 and is planned to reach the highest altitude Earth orbit since the Apollo missions.

In addition to the Spacewalk, the mission will also test the Starlink laser-based communications system and conduct medical experiments, including the use of ultrasound to monitor, detect, and quantify venous gas emboli (VGE), which is related to decompression sickness; the effect of space radiation on the human body; and Spaceflight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS), which is the effect of weightlessness on human vision.

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