SpaceX engineer Anna Menon part of Polaris Dawn mission

New York: SpaceX engineer Anna Menon will be among the crew of a unique space mission announced by US billionaire Jared Isaacman, who last year led the world’s first all-private space crew into orbit. 

Anna Menon, the wife of Indian-origin physician Anil Menon, is a Lead Space Operations Engineer at SpaceX, where she manages the development of crew operations and serves in mission control as both a Mission Director and crew communicator, SpaceX release said on Monday. 

Isaacman, the founder and CEO of American payment processing company Shift4, who had commanded 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.”  

Polaris Dawn is targeted to launch no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2022 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

In addition to Isaacman, the crew includes Menon, a veteran member of Isaacman’s team Scott Poteet and SpaceX employee Sarah Gillis. 

During her tenure at SpaceX, Anna Menon has led the implementation of Dragon’s crew capabilities, helped create the crew communicator operator role, and developed critical operational responses to vehicle emergencies, such as a fire or cabin depressurization.  

In addition to pursuing her lifelong passion for space, Anna enjoys hiking, flying small airplanes, and salsa dancing and her greatest love is her family, including husband Anil, son James, and daughter Grace. 

Anil Menon, 45, was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Ukrainian and Indian immigrants. He was SpaceX’s first flight surgeon, helping to launch the company’s first humans to space during NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission and building a medical organization to support the human system during future missions. He previously served NASA as the crew flight surgeon for various expeditions taking astronauts to the International Space Station. 

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