UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY — The Air Force Academy's most elite parachute team has spent the last week training astronauts from the SpaceX Polaris Dawn crew.
The Polaris Dawn crew includes Jared Isaacman, Mission Commander; Scott Poteet, Mission Pilot; Sarah Gillis, Mission Specialist; and Anna Menon, Mission Specialist, and Medical Officer, all of whom completed training alongside Academy cadets undergoing the same course.
The Wings of Blue team gave them a basic freefall parachute training class. The astronauts wanted more training opportunities to perform well in high-stress environments.
The Polaris Dawn crew requested these high-stress pieces of training as they prepare for space missions that have not been attempted by humans in more than 50 years.
“We fly fighter jets, we climb mountains, and scuba dive all in addition to our academic and simulator campaigns,” said Isaacman. “The Academy training was beyond our expectations. We knew it was going to be amazing; we had no idea how incredible it would be"
Our Dianne Derby spoke with the cadets who trained them. The cadets told Dianne they took them through ground training for two days before the astronauts made their first jump.
"You would think as astronauts they were very well prepared, but they were just as nervous as any other 19 or 20-year-old student that goes through our program and it was super amazing to see," said USAFA Cadet First Class Keane Singleton.
The Polaris Dawn Mission is set for launch no earlier than March of 2023.
The five-day in-orbit mission will focus on accomplishing the first commercial spacewalk, monitoring health impacts on humans while in orbit, reaching the highest earth orbit ever flown, and finally being the first crew to test Starlink laser-based communications in space.
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