ESCAPADE Timeline/History

ESCAPADE is set to launch on the maiden voyage of Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket in Late 2024!  
Pre-Environmental Review (PER)

With the two spacecraft (mostly) assembled, it’s time to carefully review the configuration of the system & ensure that all unit-level, subsystem, and system testing has been completed.  Here is where we make sure everything is ready to put the spacecraft through their environmental tests, i.e. the conditions they will face (vibration, acoustic, vacuum, and thermal) during launch and in space.

Instrument Integration on Spacecraft

Fully tested and delivered, time to mount the instruments on the Blue & Gold Spacecraft and put them through their paces!!

Structural Qualification!

We built up a full copy of the spacecraft to make sure our design can survive the punishing environment of launch into space!

Instruments Come Together!

It’s Instrument Suite I&T! Instrument teams are hard at work assembling, testing, disassembling, cleaning, retesting.  Here’s EESA-e instrument lead Phyllis Whittlesey hard at work.

Critical Design Review

After some challenges over the summer following changing the separation and propulsion systems, the team at UCB and RL completed a successful CDR. From the Independent Review Board:

The Escapade independent Mission CDR demonstrated stunning progress since the Spacecraft CDR in June.  All the actions from SCDR were addressed.   The entire independent review board, as well as the NASA reviewers, were impressed with the professionality and thoroughness of the presentation at this MCDR. This was a fantastic review!

New Propulsion System

New Zealand COVID delays impacted qualification schedule of original system; inadequate time remained to resolve issues found.
Replaced with off-the-shelf solution from Arianne Space.
New design brought up to CDR maturity, peer reviewed

Rocket Lab Selected as ESCAPADE Spacecraft Contractor

Press Release: Space company Rocket Lab plans to build new Mars spacecraft

The University of California-Berkeley has chosen California-based space company Rocket Lab to build two spacecraft for one of the least expensive interplanetary missions in history, a scientific investigation of the Martian magnetosphere. Read more.

ESCAPADE demanifested from Psyche launch, Phase B Extension

With Psyche’s launch targets unviable for ESCAPADE, we were removed from the Psyche launch manifest and provided an additional 9 months and $1.8 m to redesign the mission to be as flexible as possible in terms of launch.

Article: ESCAPADE demanifested from Psyche launch


Preliminary Design Review

New and very different launch targets for the Psyche mission announced in May 2020 led to a scramble to redesign the ESCAPADE mission, stretching design margins to breaking point.

Result: failed PDR :-(.

System Requirements Review

Before we realized EESA had to be body-mounted

ESCAPADE selection

NASA Planetary Director Lori Glaze calls Rob: ESCAPADE has been selected for Phase A/B study!  

Rob looking goofy in promo video.

Selection Day Videos on Twitter

NASA Press Release

KRON4 Bay Area News