SpaceX engineer Anna Menon will be part of the crew of a unique space mission announced Monday by US billionaire Jared Isaacman, who commanded a manned spaceflight mission last year.
Ms. Menon is chief space operations engineer at SpaceX, where she manages crew operations development and serves in mission control as mission director and crew communicator, according to a SpaceX statement.
Mr. Isaacman, founder and CEO of the American payment processing company Shift4, which had commissioned the Inspiration4 mission, announced the Polaris program, “a first-of-its-kind effort to rapidly advance human spaceflight capabilities, while continuing to raise funds and awareness for important causes here on Earth.
The program will include up to three manned spaceflight missions that will demonstrate new technologies, conduct extensive research, and ultimately culminate in the first flight of SpaceX’s Starship with humans on board.
The first mission is called Polaris Dawn, which is scheduled to launch no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2022 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Polaris Dawn mission has many first-time goals, which is why the Polaris program has chosen a team of experts who know each other well and have a foundation of trust they can rely on to meet the challenges of this mission. Menon is a mission specialist and doctor.
In addition to Mr. Isaacman, the crew includes Ms. Menon, a veteran member of Mr. Isaacman’s team Scott Poteet and SpaceX employee Sarah Gillis.
During her tenure at SpaceX, Ms. Menon led the implementation of Dragon’s crew capabilities, helped create the role of Crew Communications Operator, and developed critical operational responses to vehicle emergencies, such as fire or cabin depressurization.
Anna served in Mission Control on several Dragon cargo and crew missions, including Demo-2, Crew-1, CRS-22, and CRS-23. Prior to SpaceX, she worked for seven years at NASA as a biomedical flight controller for the International Space Station.
She is the wife of Indian-born doctor Anil Menon, a US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, who was selected by NASA in December last year along with nine other astronauts for future missions.
Anil Menon (45) was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Ukrainian and Indian immigrants.
He was SpaceX’s first flight surgeon, helping launch the company’s first humans into space on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission and creating a medical organization to support the human system on future missions. . He previously served NASA as a flight crew surgeon for various expeditions taking astronauts to the International Space Station.
SpaceX said the Dragon mission will leverage the maximum performance of Falcon 9 and Dragon, flying higher than any Dragon mission to date and striving to reach the highest Earth orbit ever flown.
“Dragon and the crew of Polaris Dawn will spend up to five days in orbit, during which the crew will attempt the first-ever commercial spacewalk, conduct scientific research designed to advance both human health on Earth and our understanding of long-term human health. long-duration spaceflight and be the first crew to test Starlink laser communications in space, providing valuable data for future space communications systems needed for missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond,” the company said. .