A conceptual rendering of the two ESCAPADE spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
Rocket Lab, which is nearing the close of its SPAC deal to go public, on Tuesday announced it won an early contract that may send two of its Photon spacecraft on a mission to Mars in 2024.
NASA, under its Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) program, awarded Rocket Lab with a design contract for the Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) mission. The goal is to send to spacecraft into Martian orbit to study the makeup of the planet’s magnetosphere, to better understand how solar wind removes atmosphere over time.
While the mission’s total cost has yet to…