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Our Team

Polaris Dawn Crew

Jared Isaacman

Jared Isaacman

Mission Commander

Scott Poteet

Mission Pilot

Sarah Gillis

Sarah Gillis

Mission Specialist

Anna Menon

Anna Menon

Mission Specialist & Medical Officer

Mission Directors

Todd Ericson

Todd Ericson

Mission Director

Sean Gustafson

Sean Gustafson

Deputy Mission Director

Dr. Samantha Weeks

Dr. Samantha Weeks

Science & Research Director

John Baum

Philanthropy Director

Sarah Grover

Communications Director

John Kraus

Content Director

Casey Phillips

Project Director

Casey Phillips

Project Director

Casey Phillips is a veteran project manager and former cabin attendant at Skystream Jet. As Project Director at Polaris, Phillips oversees a wide variety of campaign projects and coordinates travel logistics for the Polaris team.

John Kraus

Content Director

John “Snap” Kraus is a spaceflight photographer with seven years of experience capturing rocket launches and other spaceflight operations worldwide for a variety of media publications and space entities. In his role as Content Director of Polaris, Kraus is responsible for photographing campaign milestones and sharing the Polaris story via social media.

Sarah Grover

Communications Director

Sarah Grover is a marketing, communications and brand strategy executive with 30+ years of experience in the restaurant, hospitality and CPG industries. She consults as fractional CMO and brand strategist as well as serves on the board of directors at Shift4 (NYSE: FOUR) and ChowNow. As Communications Director at Polaris, Grover oversees all aspects of communications and storytelling for the Polaris missions.

John Baum

Philanthropy Director

John “Slick” Baum is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, co-founder of Draken International, former USAF Thunderbird #2 pilot, USAF Weapons School (Top Gun) Graduate and Instructor. Slick has amassed 4,600 flying hours in the F-16, T-38, T-37, and L-39, including over 265 combat hours. He serves as a Senior Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. As Philanthropy Director of Polaris, Baum leads all global philanthropic efforts in coordination with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Dr. Samantha Weeks

Dr. Samantha Weeks

Science & Research Director

Dr. Samantha “Combo” Weeks, is a retired United States Air Force Colonel, with over 2,200 hours flying the F-15C, F-16, and T-38, including 105 combat hours. She commanded at the squadron, group, and wing level in the Air Force, and today is a corporate Vice President focusing on transformation and change management. Her position as Science & Research Director with Polaris comes after two and a half decades of focus on human performance in aviation.

Sean Gustafson

Sean Gustafson

Deputy Mission Director

Sean “Stroker” Gustafson is a retired USAF Reserve pilot, co-founder of Draken International, and former USAF Thunderbird #4 pilot. Lt Col Gustafson has accumulated over 5,700 hours flying the F-16, A-4, L-39, Alpha Jet, L-159, and 767-ER. Gustafson now serves as the Deputy Mission Director of Polaris, where he leads efforts with external partners and oversees execution of campaign events.

Todd Ericson

Todd Ericson

Mission Director

Todd “Leif” Ericson is a retired USAF Colonel and experimental test pilot with 20+ years of experience in aerospace testing and development of diverse aerospace vehicles. As Mission Director of Polaris, Ericson serves as the lead liaison with SpaceX for all facets of mission design, development, and safe execution. Leif has accumulated over 10,000 hours flying over 150+ aircraft.

Anna Menon

Anna Menon

Mission Specialist & Medical Officer

Anna 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. During her tenure at SpaceX, she 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. Anna served in mission control during multiple Dragon missions, such as Demo-2, Crew-1, CRS-22, and CRS-23.

Prior to SpaceX, Anna worked for seven years at NASA as a biomedical flight controller for the International Space Station. In this role, she supported space station crews from mission control, helped integrate international partner engineers and medical care, and led the planning and execution of all biomedical operations for Expedition 47/48. She received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Spanish from Texas Christian University and her master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. Service and applying her engineering background to helping others is important to Anna. Immediately after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, she supported the World Health Organization water and sanitation response and has also volunteered with the Engineers Without Borders and Engineering World Health organizations. Her dream of flying to space began in fourth grade when her teacher Alison Smith Balch (daughter of Space Shuttle Challenger pilot Michael J. Smith) took her on an immersive field trip at NASA. In addition to pursuing her lifelong passion for space, Anna enjoys hiking, flying small airplanes, and salsa dancing, and her greatest love is her wonderful family, including husband Anil, son James, and daughter Grace.

Sarah Gillis

Sarah Gillis

Mission Specialist

Sarah Gillis is a Lead Space Operations Engineer at SpaceX, responsible for overseeing the company’s astronaut training program. This includes the development of mission-specific curriculum and training execution for both NASA and commercial astronauts who fly aboard the Dragon spacecraft. She prepared NASA astronauts for the first Demo-2 and Crew-1 missions, and most recently directly trained the Inspiration4 astronauts, the first all-civilian crew to go to orbit. Sarah is an experienced mission control operator, who has supported real-time operations for Dragon’s cargo resupply missions to and from the International Space Station as a Navigation Officer, and as a crew communicator for Dragon’s human spaceflight missions.

Raised from a young age to be a classical violinist, Sarah changed directions when a beloved high-school mentor, former NASA astronaut Joe Tanner, encouraged her to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering. In 2015, while studying engineering and dance at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Sarah started an internship at SpaceX, working on human-in-the-loop testing of the Dragon spacecraft interior before moving into the astronaut training program full-time. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Sarah is an avid hiker, climber, and adventurer, all of which let her enjoy one of her favorite things – a cup of hot coffee while camping in the wilderness.

Scott Poteet

Mission Pilot

Scott “Kidd” Poteet is a retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who served 20 years in various roles that include Commander of the 64th Aggressor Squadron, USAF Thunderbird #4 Demonstration Pilot, USAF Weapons School Graduate, Operational Test & Evaluation Pilot, and Flight Examiner. Kidd is a command pilot with over 3,200 flying hours in the F-16, A-4, T-38, T-37, T-3, and Alpha Jet. Kidd has logged over 400 hours of combat time during Operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Joint Guardian, Freedom’s Sentinel, and Resolute Support.

Following his Air Force career, Kidd served in various roles to include Director of Business Development at Draken International and VP of Strategy at Shift4 (NYSE: FOUR). He most recently served as the Mission Director of Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to space that helped raise over $240 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in an effort to help eradicate childhood cancer. Kidd is also an accomplished collegiate runner and triathlete, competing in 15 Ironman triathlons since 2000, which includes four Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Jared Isaacman

Jared Isaacman

Mission Commander

Jared Isaacman is the CEO of Shift4 (NYSE: FOUR), the leader in integrated payment processing solutions. He is an accomplished pilot & astronaut with over 7,000 flight hours of aviation experience, including ratings in multiple experimental and ex-military aircraft.  He was the commander of Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to space that helped raise over $240 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® to help eradicate childhood cancer.

Jared also holds several world records including two speed-around-the-world flights in 2008 and 2009 that raised money and awareness for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He has flown in over 100 airshows as part of the Black Diamond Jet Team, dedicating every performance to charitable causes. In 2011, Isaacman co-founded what would become the world’s largest private air force, Draken International, to train pilots for the United States Armed Forces.