Author Topic: Polaris Program (Dragon and Starship crewed missions led by Isaacman)  (Read 152908 times)

Offline John_Marshall

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Do we know whether the Polaris Dawn crew will be the crew for the other two missions, too? That wasn't clear to me

Online yg1968

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Do we know whether the Polaris Dawn crew will be the crew for the other two missions, too? That wasn't clear to me

The crew for the other missions haven't been determined yet.
« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 05:48 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Thorny

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Why wouldn't SpaceX just use the Polar launch corridor from KSC? 

My (very possibly incorrect) understanding is polar launches have to go from Pad 40, not 39A due to overflight restrictions. So if they have to build more infrastructure at Vandenberg for Falcon Heavy anyway, it might be easier to add a crew access tower/arm there than at Pad 40. Also, the dog leg might take more performance than a straight due-south launch out of Vandenberg.

But if they can go polar out of 39A, that might be something to try.

Offline Lars-J

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Why wouldn't SpaceX just use the Polar launch corridor from KSC? 

My (very possibly incorrect) understanding is polar launches have to go from Pad 40, not 39A due to overflight restrictions. So if they have to build more infrastructure at Vandenberg for Falcon Heavy anyway, it might be easier to add a crew access tower/arm there than at Pad 40. Also, the dog leg might take more performance than a straight due-south launch out of Vandenberg.

But if they can go polar out of 39A, that might be something to try.

I'm not sure why people expect there to be a polar flight? Polaris is a catchy name - and contains 3 stars, thus 3 missions - but there is so far no evidence that they plan on flying anything other than a 51.6 inclination for any of the flights.

Offline DecoLV

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I was not aware Crew Dragon could depress/repress. Apparently it can, I guess. Or is SpaceX upgrading something for these missions?

Offline niwax

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Why wouldn't SpaceX just use the Polar launch corridor from KSC? 

My (very possibly incorrect) understanding is polar launches have to go from Pad 40, not 39A due to overflight restrictions. So if they have to build more infrastructure at Vandenberg for Falcon Heavy anyway, it might be easier to add a crew access tower/arm there than at Pad 40. Also, the dog leg might take more performance than a straight due-south launch out of Vandenberg.

But if they can go polar out of 39A, that might be something to try.

Much simpler than that, you'd have to develop completely different abort zones and ground stations which isn't worth it unless there are very specific requirements not to use existing qualified orbits.

Offline cohberg

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I was not aware Crew Dragon could depress/repress. Apparently it can, I guess. Or is SpaceX upgrading something for these missions?

This is not an upgrade: the ECLSS system / Dragon was designed for it from the beginning. Notably, to fight a fire / decontaminate the cabin after a fire, procedure is to depressurize the cabin then repressurize it with clean nitrox.

Quote from: SpaceX ECLSS Paper
If the atmosphere is even more contaminated, it can be vented to near-vacuum and replaced with clean nitrox using both cabin repress valve sets.

« Last Edit: 10/03/2022 03:40 pm by cohberg »

Offline DistantTemple

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They won’t invest heavily in further Dragon development.

I am not allowed to go into details (per my sources), but I can say that your assessment is not entirely correct.
Since dragon to orbit, and docking with SS, and similar docking with SS, then Dragon EDL is a redundancy against SS human launch and EDL risk, it makes sense to develop it as a general safety strategy. The further tweets from Isaacman mentioning docking with an SS illustrate this perfectly.
I imagine that for some years the ability to land humans using Dragon, when say the SS has a potential fault like a suspect heatshield, would be a great safety procedure.
Plus of course is D2. That's a development!
Demonstrating that there is a parallel strategy to SLS - Starship, potentially "retires schedule risk".
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Offline FishInferno

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They won’t invest heavily in further Dragon development.

I am not allowed to go into details (per my sources), but I can say that your assessment is not entirely correct.
Since dragon to orbit, and docking with SS, and similar docking with SS, then Dragon EDL is a redundancy against SS human launch and EDL risk, it makes sense to develop it as a general safety strategy. The further tweets from Isaacman mentioning docking with an SS illustrate this perfectly.
I imagine that for some years the ability to land humans using Dragon, when say the SS has a potential fault like a suspect heatshield, would be a great safety procedure.
Plus of course is D2. That's a development!
Demonstrating that there is a parallel strategy to SLS - Starship, potentially "retires schedule risk".

From my understanding, the D2 "rescue" option to avoid a Starship reentry only works for LEO missions. IIRC Starship won't have the DeltaV to propulsively brake into LEO coming from the Moon or further.

So it is an option, but still limits the scope of what you can do.
Comparing SpaceX and SLS is like comparing paying people to plant fruit trees with merely digging holes and filling them.  - Robotbeat

Offline darkenfast

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The article was very straightforward, as I would expect from Davenport. Sadly, the comments (at least the first few pages of them) were overwhelmingly hostile and pretty much follow the "woke" party line against wasteful spaceflight and evil rich people.
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Offline bstrong

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I'd be very interested in what the second Dragon flight would entail, especially if "Polaris Dawn" already has a spacewalk and a higher altitude than Inspiration4.
I'm hoping for a privately funded Hubble servicing mission. The first flight is going to prove out a lot of capabilities that would be needed, and it would go a long way towards making amends to the astronomical community for Starlink.
« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 08:48 pm by bstrong »

Offline hektor

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In the bio of Scott Poteet it is said he flew T-3. Do you know which plane this is ? is this the Firefly ?
« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 09:09 pm by hektor »

Offline jimvela

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I'd be very interested in what the second Dragon flight would entail, especially if "Polaris Dawn" already has a spacewalk and a higher altitude than Inspiration4.
I'm hoping for a privately funded Hubble servicing mission. The first flight is going to prove out a lot of capabilities that would be needed, and it would go a long way towards making amends to the astronomical community for Starlink.


There isn't replacement flight hardware for the Hubble side of that wish, so there's no servicing to be done at this point.

Offline whitelancer64

Better image of the Polaris Dawn render
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
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Offline Jeff Lerner

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Better image of the Polaris Dawn render

I know this is an artistic licence picture but even Ed White had a jet pack to help his floating around…bobbing around at the end of a tether or hose is going to be difficult…going to have to be some railings or handholds..

Offline AU1.52

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I'd be very interested in what the second Dragon flight would entail, especially if "Polaris Dawn" already has a spacewalk and a higher altitude than Inspiration4.
I'm hoping for a privately funded Hubble servicing mission. The first flight is going to prove out a lot of capabilities that would be needed, and it would go a long way towards making amends to the astronomical community for Starlink.


There isn't replacement flight hardware for the Hubble side of that wish, so there's no servicing to be done at this point.


Bring it back for the Smithsonian.

Offline jimvela

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Bring it back for the Smithsonian.

Maybe someday in a StarShip.  Dragon is incapable of bringing Hubble back.

Offline AU1.52

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Bring it back for the Smithsonian.

Maybe someday in a StarShip.  Dragon is incapable of bringing Hubble back.


Yes in Starship. For the 3rd Mission, if it is not producing science then.
« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 10:20 pm by AU1.52 »

Offline whitelancer64

Better image of the Polaris Dawn render

I know this is an artistic licence picture but even Ed White had a jet pack to help his floating around…bobbing around at the end of a tether or hose is going to be difficult…going to have to be some railings or handholds..

The handheld jet pack was pretty much useless. It ran out of fuel quickly.

That said, one or both of them free-floating in front of the Dragon is unlikely, IMO, I would consider that artistic license (but if it happened they could use the umbilical to pull themselves back in). I would fully expect the Dragon and its trunk to be modified for this mission with handrails and / or other clip on points at strategic locations. We don't know what the purpose of the EVA is yet, so beyond that it's harder to guess.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline whitelancer64

Bring it back for the Smithsonian.

Maybe someday in a StarShip.  Dragon is incapable of bringing Hubble back.

Yes in Starship. For the 3rd Mission, if it is not producing science then.

NASA would absolutely not risk the Hubble on an early Starship flight. There's a ton that Starship has to prove out anyway, long before NASA would be willing to do anything as complicated as rendezvous with the Hubble, capture it, safely stow it in its cargo bay, and safely return it.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

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