NJ students: Isaacman visits Westfield fifth-graders

SpaceX Commander Jared Isaacman, an alumnus of Wilson Elementary School, receives a warm welcome during a visit on Wednesday, March 16.  Isaacman is pictured here with Wilson principal Crystal Marsh.

The excitement was palpable as Wilson Elementary School in Westfield’s fifth-graders awaited the arrival of a famous alumnus on Wednesday, March 16. It was a visit for which the students had painstakingly prepared and, when billionaire and commercial space explorer Jared Isaacman walked into the gymnasium, awe-inspired smiles broke out.

“On March 16 Jared Issacman is our honored guest here at Wilson School,” said Abigail Dewey, one of three fifth graders who, with principal Crystal Marsh, introduced Isaacman.  “Our fifth grade classes refer to him as ‘Commander Isaacman’ because that is how we came to know of him when learning about the SpaceX Inspiration 4 mission, the first crewed orbital mission with no professional astronauts on board.”

Isaacman, a civilian pilot who orbited the Earth last September as commander of the all-civilian crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule dubbed Resilience, spoke about that mission and shared his plans for future space exploration which includes three more space missions with a new four-member crew as part of a SpaceX program called Polaris.

Wilson alumnus Jared Isaacman, who orbited the Earth last September as part of the all-civilian crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule dubbed Resilience, speaks to Wilson fifth graders on Wednesday, March 16, about his plans for future space exploration.

“We’re going to go farther into space than humans have gone since we last walked on the Moon,” said Isaacman about the Polaris program which he says is “designed to test technology required for future space missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”

During the first Polaris mission — Polaris Dawn, scheduled to launch in November — Isaacman said the crew will spend up to five days in space, conducting scientific experiments and testing a new spacesuit while on a spacewalk 310 miles above the Earth. In a continued effort to raise awareness of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the crew also plans to use SpaceX’s constellation of low Earth orbit communication satellites to conduct “telemedicine,” connecting pediatric patients in countries who may not have direct access to resources such as St. Jude. Isaacman and the Inspiration 4 crew raised $240 million for St. Jude during their trip into space last fall.

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