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NASA Mars smallsat mission, ESCAPADE, to take off on Blue Origin's 1st New Glenn launch vehicle

NASA joins hands with Blue Origin to carry forward the Mars smallsat mission, ESCAPADE, with the latter's first-ever New Glenn launch vehicle. Check details here.

Updated on: Nov 28 2023, 13:33 IST
NASA Mars smallsat mission, ESCAPADE, will be launched with the debut launch of Blue Origin’s New Glenn launch vehicle. (NASA)
NASA Mars smallsat mission, ESCAPADE, will be launched with the debut launch of Blue Origin’s New Glenn launch vehicle. (NASA)

The very first launch of Blue Origin's New Glenn launch vehicle is expected to carry the NASA Mars smallsat mission in the coming year. However, experts worry that the spacecraft development might affect the mission’s schedule timings. In February 2023, both companies announced their partnership to launch the Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) spacecraft with the New Glen. Now, the mission is expected to take its first flight with the new launch vehicle by the end of 2024. Learn more about the partnership between NASA and Blue Origin here.

NASA’s ESCAPADE mission launch

The Spacenews reported that in February, Blue Origin and NASA joined hands for the ESCAPADE mission which is expected to be launched in the year 2024, however, the budget of the partnership was not revealed by any of the companies. It was later disclosed in a federal procurement database to be 20 million dollars. The source quoted Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations committee, Bradley Smith, director of NASA’s Launch Services Office, who said, “It’s an incredibly ambitious first launch for New Glenn and we really appreciate the partnership.”

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The ESCAPADE mission launch with the New Glenn launch vehicle was stated to be risky, however, NASA says it is ready to take the risk which surrounds the launch and the mission. The ESCAPADE mission launch may face some technical challenges during the first launch, however, NASA’s biggest concern is the schedule risks.

Also read: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in India, set to strengthen NASA-ISRO partnership

The development of the New Glenn launch vehicle has already been delayed by a year and Blue Origin has not shared any update about the progression so far. Jarrett Jones, senior vice president for New Glenn at Blue Origin shared that the company is planning multiple launches by the end of 2024.

About ESCAPADE mission

NASA’s upcoming Mars mission aims to study the transfer of solar wind energy and momentum through Mars’ unique hybrid magnetosphere. It is a dual-spacecraft mission that will enable researchers to conduct thorough studies on the Martian atmosphere. NASA reports that each identical ESCAPADE spacecraft has a mass under 90 kg.

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First Published Date: 28 Nov, 13:07 IST