The Polaris Program has announced a donation of $500,000 that will see over 100 schools in Chile and Brazil receive SpaceX Starlink internet.
The program, led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, is working with non-profit organizations in each country, Enseña Chile in Chile and MegaEdu in Brazil, to identify schools in underserved areas in need of an internet connection.
Starlink kits have already been delivered in Chile throughout the month of October, with schools in Brazil expected to see their Starlink equipment arrive in November.
“Rural schools in Brazil must have reliable high-speed internet to provide their students equitable opportunities, and a satellite-powered solution is essential to reach these schools,” said MegaEdu CEO Cristieni Castilhos. “This donation will allow underserved Brazilian schools to use Starlink’s innovative technology, bettering the education of students.”
The Starlink kits have already been put to use, with Isaacman and the rest of the Polaris Dawn crew speaking with students at the San Miguel de Quintrilpe school in Chile via Starlink this week. Students and staff were able to ask questions of the Polaris Dawn crew about their upcoming mission.
We’re excited to provide Starlink to over 100 schools in Chile and Brazil, and the Polaris Dawn crew recently talked to children at the first school in Chile to be connected as part of this effort! → https://t.co/gvmjxjgOIh pic.twitter.com/ER0ank0gyv
— Polaris (@PolarisProgram) October 26, 2022
According to Tomás Recart, executive director of Enseña Chile, the donation will impact over 7,500 students and more than 700 teachers in the country.
“The donation from Polaris will connect more than 50 schools in Chile to quality internet, contributing to the development of more than 7,500 students and more than 700 teachers. This technological tool, complemented by an educational component of teacher training, allows us to continue improving educational quality and bringing opportunities to children,” said Tomás Recart, executive director of Enseña Chile.
With the donation, more schools in underserved areas of Brazil are now connected to the internet through Starlink. SpaceX recently provided Starlink kits to schools in country’s Amazon region, something which CEO Elon Musk noted an internet connection is vital in today’s world in receiving an education and as a result a way to escape poverty.
The Polaris Program was hoping to launch its second Polaris Dawn mission later this year, but that has been recently rescheduled to March 2023. The crew will be launched into space onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Crew members will complete the first commercial spacewalk at an altitude of about 435 miles or 700km above the Earth.