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Astronaut crew trains in Montana for SpaceX mission

Commander Jared Isaacman said what they're about to do has never been done before
Sarah Gillis, Jared Isaacman, Anna Menon, and Scott Poteet
Posted at 10:53 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 01:02:00-04

BOZEMAN — The SpaceX crew of the astronaut team “Polaris Dawn” is training at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport for a space mission.

"Polaris Dawn" is the first of three missions for a commercial space program called Polaris Dawn. During the five-day orbit, the crew will be blazing a trail, testing new technologies.

The crew members are Sarah Gillis, Jared Isaacman, Anna Menon, and Scott Poteet

Commander Isaacman said, “Practicing things that haven’t been done in close to 50 years. We'll be going farther into space than the last time someone walked on the moon. It will be the highest earth orbit ever flown.”

Isaacman said the training that goes into a space mission can be extremely tedious.

“The academic portion where you spend a lot of time in manuals and PowerPoint is, um—it comes with some challenges,” said Isaacman.

Poteet, the pilot for Polaris Dawn, said the crew is finally in their third phase of training, which is focused on teamwork.

Sarah Gillis, Jared Isaacman, Anna Menon, and Scott Poteet

“That's why we're here at Bozeman, is to fly some fighter jets,” said Poteet.

Poteet says the fighter jet experience is a great way for the crew to work together and go through checklist procedures.

“It's a pretty risky operation to fly fighter jets and this is a good analogue for space travel,” said Poteet.

The rocket launch for the mission will take place in early 2023. Isaacman says the research they will do on their mission is kind of like the building blocks leading up to getting humans back to the moon and eventually, to Mars.

“Going high? Yeah, we're thrilled to be able to undertake that effort,” said Isaacman. “But it's about learning the spacecraft design, it's human physiology, and what that radiation does to the human body because if we're going to get back to the moon and Mars, we have to go through the Van Allen Belt.”

The crew will be traveling in a new rocket called "Starship" that might make this possible someday.

“When Starship is complete and we have flown that, you've got a vehicle now that can bring 100 people up into space,” said Isaacman. “They’re making thousands of them so you're talking about the 737 of spacecrafts.”

Isaacman said the progress we're making when it comes to space travel is exciting.

“We can make amazing progress for tomorrow, like the exciting Star Wars world we want to live in someday,” said Isaacman. “The entire experience is really incredible.”

The Polaris Dawn crew will be training at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport until September 18.