SpaceX Polaris Dawn Crew in Montana, Our Chat with the Mission Pilot
This is pretty cool- SpaceX and the crew from the Polaris Dawn mission is on the ground in Montana. We got a chance to chat with Mission Pilot Kidd Poteet as they get ready to conduct training missions in the Bozeman area before launching into space later this year.
NBC Montana reported on Wednesday that the crew would be doing training missions starting Thursday (today).
Aircraft include L-39s, Alpha Jets and MiG-29s flying in formation over Belgrade, Bozeman and surrounding areas.
Kidd Poteet retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel before teaming up with SpaceX. At one point in his Air Force Career he was an Air Force Thunderbird pilot. In an interview on our "Montana Talks with Aaron Flint" statewide radio show- Kidd described their training objectives and what type of aircraft will be on the ground, and in the air, in Montana.
Polaris Dawn aircraft in Montana:
Kidd Poteet: We're going to bring in about 14 fighter jets, most of them L-39s. It's a two-seater, single engine fighter jet. We have two alpha jets, two-seater two-engine, used for training and some air-to-ground type missions. And then the last fighter jet is a MIG 29, which is quite impressive. It's the equivalent of an F-16 developed and flown by Russia, as well as some other countries and in Europe, as well as South America. And then we're also going to bring in a what's called a Sero G 707. It's a big commercial type aircraft that allows us to fly parabolic profile type experiences for us. What that gives us is about 30 seconds of Zero G. And we're going to do about 15 of these parabolic profiles, and we're actually going to attempt some of our science and research experiments that we're going to do on orbit. So this gives us an opportunity to use some of the devices and some of the technology and the equipment that we're going to take up into the capsule and we get kind of a dry run to try out these experiments.
What is Kidd Poteet the most excited about Montana?
Kidd Poteet: There's so many things we're excited about. I mean the training itself has been awesome. I break it down into three phases, you got the basic fundamentals where we do a lot of simulator and academic training, learning the systems of the spacecraft. Phase two is kind of the specialized training based on what we're trying to accomplish with the spacewalk and the altitude and the Starlink technology. And then the third, the most fun, is the team building exercises that we've done. We started off with some scuba diving off of Catalina Island and California. We went to Ecuador and climbed Cotopaxi volcano, which was awesome. Over 19,000 feet on that peak. We've done a lot of fighter jet training. And we got some some more events scheduled before the launch coming up. So just working with this team is just, it's an amazing experience. I couldn't imagine a better crew to do this with. So we're just excited about everything in this mission, and we look forward to heading to space.
Why Bozeman? Here's the full audio of our chat with Mission Pilot Kidd Poteet early Thursday morning:
Check out more photos of the crew and the aircaft on the Polaris Dawn Flickr page.
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