NASA to launch Mars mission with Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin
Blue Origin, the private space company founded by Jeff Bezos, has signed a deal with NASA to launch a mission to study the magnetic field around Mars next year.
Blue Origin, the private space company founded by Jeff Bezos, has signed a deal with NASA to launch a mission to study the magnetic field around Mars next year. In the mission, called ESCAPADE (Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers), astronauts will collect data from the planet’s magnetosphere and its interactions with solar radiation.
The mission will use Blue Origin ‘s New Glenn spacecraft. It is stated that it will take about 11 months for the spacecraft to reach Mars orbit. New Glenn is named after NASA astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit Earth in 1962.
The first flight of the reusable New Glenn, designed to fly at least 25 missions, was scheduled for late 2021. However, for some reason, this plan was shelved. While the date given for the next space mission of the vehicle is the fourth quarter of 2022, we did not see any innovations on this date. Now, according to the contract signed with NASA, it is stated that New Glenn will be launched into space in 2024.
Known for its astro-tourism business for affluent clients and celebrities, Blue Origin is one of 13 firms NASA selected for its Venture-class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) program last year. VADR primarily aims to encourage the private development of private space launch vehicles by assigning lower-cost NASA science missions to new rockets with an unproven track record and a higher chance of failure. It competes with companies such as Blue Origin, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance.