A major Starship test and two private Dragon flights
In the next few weeks we should see the first orbital launch of SpaceX’s massive new Starship vehicle. They recently completed a firing of 31 of the 33 engines at the same time. It was quite a sight. Once they receive the go ahead from the FAA, they will attempt to launch this gigantic rocket into Earth orbit. Starship is planned to not only launch payload into space, but also humans, with Space Adventures’ orbital spaceflight client Yusaku Maezawa awaiting his DearMoon flight around the Moon, and Jared Isaacman slated to fly to low-Earth orbit on the third Polaris mission (see more below).
The SpaceX Starship and Booster. Image Credit: Elon Musk on Twitter (annotations by Space Adventures)
SpaceX also operate the most reliable human spacecraft currently on the market, the Dragon. This year should see a couple different missions with private citizens on board. First is the Axiom AX-2 mission, really a private citizen / government astronaut mixed flight. Scheduled for May the flight will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station for a 10 day stay – one fare-paying private citizen, two professional Saudi astronauts and one Axiom professional astronaut who will serve as an in orbit guide.
Then later in the summer we should see the Polaris Dawn mission. After the Inspiration4 mission in September 2021, billionaire Jared Isaacman announced the Polaris Program. The first mission – Polaris Dawn – will fly to low-Earth orbit (but not to the ISS) and has the ambitious goal of opening the spacecraft door and allowing at least one crew member to complete a spacewalk.