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SpaceX wants to do the first private spacewalk

SpaceX wants to do the first private spacewalk

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The Polaris Dawn crew is scheduled to orbit Earth in SpaceX's Crew Dragon space capsule. The first private spacewalk is also scheduled. (File photo) © IMAGO/NASA

SpaceX wants to send four ordinary people into space again. This time, they're not just supposed to orbit the Earth, they're supposed to do a spacewalk, too.

FRANKFURT – When astronauts go on extravehicular missions – colloquially known as “spacewalks” – they’ve always been people working for big space organizations like NASA and the European Space Agency. But that could soon change: Private space company SpaceX is not only planning its second space mission with only private people on board, but two of them are also going to do the first private “spacewalk.”

The Polaris Dawn mission is scheduled to launch on July 31, 2024, at the earliest. The four-person crew is led by Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who is funding the Polaris program and who has already been to space himself. He orbited the Earth for three days with the amateur mission Inspiration4 in the fall of 2021. He funded that mission himself, and the Polaris program ultimately grew out of his enthusiasm. The program will include a total of three spaceflights, each completed by a SpaceX spacecraft.

The Polaris Dawn mission wants to perform the first private “spacewalk.”

The first two flights will use the Crew Dragon spacecraft, each with a crew of four. The third mission is currently scheduled to be the first crewed flight of SpaceX’s new Starship spacecraft. Each of the three flights aims to achieve groundbreaking achievements. While Inspiration4 was the first solo spacewalk by four ordinary people, Polaris Dawn is said to be, among other things, the first spacewalk by humans. They are supposed to test SpaceX’s newly developed spacesuits at an altitude of about 700 kilometers and test the company’s Starlink satellites in space.

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Polaris Dawn also aims to fly higher above Earth than any other spacecraft since the lunar missions of the 1760s and 1770s. The plan is to reach the highest orbit around Earth ever. The spacecraft will also fly partly through the Van Allen radiation belt and conduct research there. It says it aims to help us better understand how spaceflight and space radiation affect human health. Polaris Program Website.

SpaceX's mission also wants to conduct medical research in space.

Various scientific experiments are also planned that focus on human health on Earth and during long space flights. Among other things, the so-called “diving sickness” will be investigated and further contributions will be made to research on health problems during long stays in space. (unpaid invoice)