Airbus delivers first Orion spacecraft module
Airbus has delivered the first European Service Module (ESM) for NASA’s Orion spacecraft from its site in Bremen, Germany.
Airbus delivered the first European Service Module (ESM) for NASA’s Orion spacecraft from its site in Bremen, Germany on 5th November. An Antonov cargo aircraft will fly the ESM to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
The European Space Agency (ESA) selected Airbus as the prime contractor for the development and production of the first ESM in November 2014.
The ESM is a key element of Orion, the next-generation spacecraft that will transport astronauts beyond low Earth orbit for the first time since the end of the Apollo programme in the 1970s. The module provides propulsion, power and thermal control and will supply astronauts with water and oxygen on future missions. The ESM is installed underneath the crew module.
Integration of the second service module is currently in progress.
The launch of the Orion spacecraft with NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket is known as Exploration Mission-1 and is scheduled for 2020. This mission will be uncrewed and will take the spacecraft more than 64,000 kilometres beyond the Moon in order to demonstrate its capabilities. The first human spaceflight mission, Exploration Mission-2, is planned for 2022.
The design of the Orion spacecraft enables astronauts to be transported further into Space than ever before. The spacecraft will transport the four astronauts into Space, providing life support for the crew during the flight and enabling a safe return to Earth’s atmosphere, at extremely high re-entry speeds. NASA will use this mission beyond the Moon to develop the capabilities to send humans to Mars – heralding a new era of human spaceflight.