Tuesday, May 24, 2016

ESA Begins Building Service Module for NASA Orion Capsule

NASA and European Space Agency officials on May 19 said the European Service Module (ESM) for NASA’s Orion crew-transport vehicle was within budget and on schedule for a late-2018 inaugural flight pending a key review.

But the ESM program remains pressed for time – so much so that flight-model hardware integration is beginning before the program’s critical design review, scheduled for June 16 at ESA’s Estec facility in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

Fully loaded and fueled, the ESM will weigh about 13,000 kilograms at launch and provide Orion’s propulsion, power supply, thermal control and crew life-support elements.

It is the first time that NASA has allowed Europe to occupy such a crucial place in an astronaut-related program and signals the mutual respect between agencies that may be one of the enduring contributions of the international space station.


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