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Saturday, April 13, 2024

NASA Gives the Mars Mission Contract to Blue Origin

Blue Origin's recently created New Glenn heavy-lift rocket will carry out the Mars mission

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

UNITED STATES: NASA awarded a significant contract to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to launch a trip to Mars. For the launch of the mission to investigate the magnetic field surrounding the Red Planet, NASA awarded the private space enterprise its first interplanetary contract.

Blue Origin’s recently created New Glenn heavy-lift rocket will carry out the mission, known as the dual-spacecraft ESCAPADE, next year. The Florida-based Cape Canaveral Space Force Station will serve as the mission’s launch pad in late 2024.

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Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) is a NASA programme that includes the mission. ESCAPADE is a Class D twin-spacecraft project that aims to understand how solar wind energy moves through Mars’ distinct hybrid magnetosphere.

The Bezos-led company said in a statement that “the NASA VADR launch services Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract was on-ramped to Blue Origin on January 26, 2022, with a five-year performance period.”

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The identical twin ESCAPADEs, or Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers, will arrive in Mars orbit in around 11 months.

The name New Glenn, which includes a reusable first stage scheduled to be launched on at least 25 trips, honours the creative NASA astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit Earth in 1962.

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The smaller, suborbital New Shepard rocket, which can transport research payloads on brief, weightless journeys to the edge of space and back, has already conducted NASA missions for Blue Origin.

ESCAPADE provides Blue Origin with another business opportunity with a huge government client as Bezos’ rocket company begins to compete with SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, and other large corporations for missions to low-Earth orbit and beyond.

According to NASA, a launch under the VADR programme can cost up to $300 million. The space agency refused to reveal the ESCAPADE contract’s worth, claiming that such information was proprietary. Blue Origin also refuses to talk about specific financials.

According to Blue Origin, the New Glenn rocket has been chosen to launch payloads into orbit for three prominent satellite operators in addition to NASA: Eutelsat, JSAT, and Telesat.

Also Read: SpaceX Shares Could Have Funded Tesla’s Privatisation, Says Musk

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  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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