Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Gets Its First NASA Contract For Mars Mission

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin gets first NASA contract for Mars mission

Blue Origin has carried out previous NASA missions with the smaller New Shepard rocket. (Document)


Blue Origin, the private space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, was awarded NASA’s first interplanetary contract on Thursday to launch a mission next year to study the magnetic field around Mars. , the US space agency and company said. The agency said the plans call for Blue Origin’s recently developed New Glenn heavy-lift rocket to launch with NASA’s two-spacecraft ESCAPADE mission in late 2024 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Cape Town. Florida, the agency said.

It will take two identical twin ESCAPADEs, short for Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers, about 11 months to orbit Mars, where they will collect data from the planet’s magnetosphere and its interactions. with solar radiation.

New Glenn, with a reusable first stage designed to fly on at least 25 missions, is named after pioneering NASA astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth. land in 1962.

Blue Origin has carried out previous NASA missions with a smaller, suborbital New Shepard rocket that can carry research payloads on short, zero-gravity trips to the edge of space and back. .

But ESCAPADE gives Blue Origin another line of business with a valuable government customer as Bezos’ rocket company begins to compete with SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and other big players for flights to the fund. low Earth orbit and beyond.

Blue Origin, known for its space tourism business for wealthy clients and celebrities, was one of 13 companies NASA selected last year for its Dedicated Mission Acquisition program. and Adventure-level Carpooling (VADR).

VADR is primarily intended to promote private development of private space launch vehicles by delivering lower-cost NASA science missions to new rockets with unproven track record and failure potential. higher failure.

In doing so, NASA takes on greater risk by using promising emerging rocket services that commercial customers may not initially want to fly with.

NASA says the maximum possible price for a VADR launch is $300 million. The space agency declined to disclose the value of the ESCAPADE contract, calling the information proprietary. Blue Origin also declined to discuss financial details.

Although ESCAPADE marked NASA’s first flight over New Glenn, that booster was chosen to carry payloads into orbit for the top three satellite operators: Eutelsat, JSAT and Telesat, according to Blue Origin.

The company also says Amazon’s constellation of Project Kuiper satellites has chosen New Glenn for 12 launches over five years.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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