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EscaPADE (Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers) by the University of California, Berkeley, is a twin-spacecraft Mars orbiter mission to study the structure, composition, variability and dynamics of Mars’ magnetosphere and atmospheric escape processes.

EscaPADE's science goals are:

  • Understand the processes controlling the structure of Mars’ hybrid magnetosphere and how it guides ion flows.
  • Understand how energy and momentum is transported from the solar wind through Mars’ magnetosphere.
  • Understand the processes controlling the flow of energy and matter into and out of the collisional atmosphere.

EscaPADE will measure magnetic field strength and topology, ion plasma distributions (separated into light and heavy masses), as well as suprathermal electron flows and thermal electron and ion densities from elliptical, 200 km × ~7000 km orbits.

The twin spacecraft will travel to Mars via solar electric propulsion as a rideshare with the Psyche metal-asteroid mission in August 2022, matching Mars’ heliocentric orbit until capture and spiral-down to science orbits.

The two spaceprobes were originally to be launched in 2022 as secondary payloads on a Falcon-Heavy (Block 5) together with the Psyche and Janus missions. In September 2020 EscaPADE was removed from this launch, due to trouble getting the trajectory needs of all three passengers to work out together and EscaPADE would need to be redesigned with a larger propulsion system. EscaPADE will be re-manifested on an other launch.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Mars orbiter
Operator: University of California, Berkeley; NASA
Power: Solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 1 year science mission
Mass: < 90 kg
Orbit: Heliocentric, then 200 km × 700 km, 60° Mars orbit
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
EscaPADE A (SIMPLEx 4A) - 202x with ?, EscaPADE B
EscaPADE B (SIMPLEx 4B) - 202x with ?, EscaPADE A