With a new mission being carried out in conjunction with NASA, Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin is aiming for Mars. The project is dubbed Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE). It intends to investigate the magnetic region of the Red Planet’s atmosphere and the magnetosphere. In addition, it will investigate how the solar wind has changed the planet’s atmosphere through time. If the booster is finished in time, the twin spacecraft that will conduct this research will launch in late 2024 aboard Blue Origin’s next New Glenn rocket.
NASA chose Blue Origin from a shortlist of 13 companies for its Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) program. This program was created in 2022. Blue Origin was among a small group of businesses that were being considered for the project. NASA withheld the contract’s financial information, but SpaceNews estimated it to be $20 million based on federal procurement documents. The goal of the VADR effort is to expand the market for commercial launches in the United States. In addition, it aims in opening up new options for science and technological payloads.
The ESCAPADE mission is particularly intriguing because it might provide more information on how Mars grew to be so dry throughout time. On the surface of Mars, it appears that water flowed abundantly millions of years ago. However, the planet is now exceedingly dry. The twin spacecraft could shed light on the process that led to Mars’ present climate. This is through observing the magnetosphere and how the solar wind has changed the atmosphere over time.
Blue Origin is renowned for its New Shepard suborbital rocket, which has been employed to launch both passengers and payloads. The New Glenn rocket, which the company is developing, will be able to travel beyond suborbital space. When ready, the two-stage and three-stage New Glenn rockets will be available to travel to orbit and beyond. It is anticipated to attain an altitude of 95 meters (313 feet). This is five times more than New Shepard’s 59 feet (18 m).
However, there have been difficulties in the development of New Glenn. All launches were halted in September 2022 when the rocket experienced an uncrewed anomaly during launch. Five months after the issue was discovered, Blue Origin hasn’t given any information regarding the inquiry.
Blue Origin seems to be moving forward with its plans for Mars despite these difficulties. The company’s aspirations to go beyond suborbital space and explore the universe continue with the ESCAPADE mission. NASA is a valuable supporter of Blue Origin as it works to explore the mysteries of the universe.
The Artemis program seeks to take humans back to the moon by the year 2024. Blue Origin has been chosen to create a lunar lander in addition to the ESCAPADE mission. The company’s Blue Moon lunar lander is intended to deliver supplies and eventually people to the moon’s surface.
Blue Origin is placing itself as a significant player in the next space race with its concentration on both Mars and the moon. The corporation is prepared to push the limits of what is feasible in space travel. This is through creating cutting-edge technologies and collaborating with governmental organizations like NASA. The ESCAPADE mission is simply the most recent example of Blue Origin’s vision for the future of space travel.