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Polaris Dawn’s launch window has finally been revealed

Published Jul 4th, 2024 6:49PM EDT
Polaris Dawn illustration
Image: Polaris

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Polaris Dawn stands to be the first commercial spaceflight mission with a spacewalk. Now, in a post on X, project representatives have finally shared details of when we can expect the historic flight to take place.

The project, part of a private human spaceflight program funded by billionaire Jared Isaacman, has garnered considerable attention since its initial announcement. According to the post on X, the launch will occur no earlier than July 31.

Now, that isn’t exactly a set launch window, as the project hasn’t actually given any end date for the window. SpaceX will provide the Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket used by the mission. However, the Elon Musk-led company has so far remained silent on the launch window.

The mission plan involves SpaceX launching the Falcon 9 rocket into space, where the Dragon capsule will be released. This will allow for the first-ever private spacewalk to take place inside SpaceX spacesuits. A raft of experiments will also be conducted during the event.

The Polaris Dawn mission will take astronauts roughly 435 miles (700 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. This will be the highest-altitude crewed flight since the Apollo moon missions of the 1960s and the 1970s. For some additional context, the ISS orbits just around 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth.

This is just the first of three missions that the Polaris Program has in the works, too. All are funded by Isaacman, who also helmed the Inspiration4 mission back in September 2021. That mission taught us a lot about the effects of spaceflight on the human body–including how quickly it can cause changes to the body.

The mission will include Isaacman, retired United States Air Force (USAF) Lt. Col. Scott “Kidd” Poteet as the pilot, and mission specialists Anna Menon and Sarah Gillis. It was originally targeted to launch in 2022, but the complexity of the project has pushed the mission well into 2024.

Hopefully, we’ll get a more solid window for the Polaris Dawn launch soon. Until then, we can only cross our fingers and hope for no further delays.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.