First Private Spacewalk Planned


The next group of SpaceX space tourists hope to include a spacewalk in their Polaris Dawn mission. It would be the first-ever private spacewalk, and some expensive preparations have been made. SpaceX has modified the interior of the Crew Dragon capsule to permit vacuum exposure and built new spacewalk-capable spacesuits for the four private astronauts: Anna Menon, Scott “Kidd” Poteet, Jared Isaacman and Sarah Gillis.

The capsule will enter a high orbit for its five days in space, and the spacewalk is a highlight because it will be a test of the new equipment and will pave the way for future tourist spacewalks. It’s the first of three Polaris missions funded by billionaire philanthropist Jared Isaacman and will be a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. No firm date has been set, but the launch is scheduled for no earlier than sometime this summer.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. There’s something about ‘space tourists’ conducting an EVA which makes me uncomfortable. Compare this to the thousands of hours of training and preparation that NASA conducted before their first space walks.

    • Basic EVA training is conducted and completed in ASCAN (Astronaut Candidate) training. How to operate the suit and how to operate in the suit. Off-nominal situations. Etc. The basics.

      The hundreds of hours assigned-crew spend doing EVA training is primarily related to EVA tasks on orbit (station assembly, repair, etc).

      Polaris Dawn crew only need the basics. It’s still dangerous stuff, but those “thousands of hours” aren’t needed. Nor were they wasted.

    • There’s something about a 17 year old kid with a brand new sports car that makes me uncomfortable, too. The difference? The kid can kill a family of 4 pretty easily with his ego and lack of training/experience. These “space tourists” will only have the risk of killing themselves.

      I for one am impressed and happy that Space X is significantly advancing technology, and has somehow found a means to subsidize these advancements by the ultra rich, willingly!

  2. OK… this is getting fun. First, to assuage Jeffery’s concerns, if “Kid” Poteet is any indication of the quality/training of this crew let it go. “Kid” flew with the Thunderbirds. Better than that, he was a line boy passed to me by his UNH ROTC mentor back in the 90’s when I had my fbo in NH. He has persevered all way up the flying food chain. He’ll do just fine 😎 Google his name. It gets you into the Space X site. These are hardly “civilians”…

  3. I guess if you no longer spend a million to see the Titanic in a private submarine, then I guess a private space walk makes sense.

  4. It’s pretty obvious that Jeffery was commenting on the “will pave the way for future tourist spacewalks” clause, not to the test-flight crew. I’m sure that at some point such “experiences” will become available to those with the wealth to afford such things. And I’m equally sure that, like the Titan and other “edge of the envelope” experiences, there will be fatalities, because the regime is so unforgiving. We haven’t been able to eliminate fatalities in cars, which are far more useful to far more people.

    But if I were offered the opportunity? Hell yeah!

    • Perhaps Space Fall as you are constantly falling towards Earth, it just keeps getting out of the way 🙂

      Space Float? Accurate as well, but not very catchy.

      Space Flight? Only allowed if a control pack is strapped to your body.

  5. As long as it clears the pad, it will be considered a “success” by Elmo and his legion of slurpers.

  6. This is just another logical step in the evolution of space exploration away from NASA/government control and toward civilian/private enterprise. I suspect that these individuals will basically go out and float around, kind of like Ed White did in the first American space walk in the Gemini series. But eventually it will develop into serious EVA activities leading to the ultimate: a civilian space station. 😲 Best of luck to all of them.

  7. Seems a bit of a stretch to call them space tourists.
    This is a mission with real objectives, most of which go well beyond ‘enjoying the sights’.
    Were the astronauts in the Gemini program tourists?