ESA to provide service module for Orion
ESA agreed with NASA today to contribute a driving force to the Orion spacecraft planned for launch in 2017.
Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) have been resupplying the International Space Station since 2008. The fourth in the series, ATV Albert Einstein, is being readied for launch next year from Kourou, French Guiana.
The ATV-derived service module, sitting directly below Orion’s crew capsule, will provide propulsion, power, thermal control, as well as supplying water and gas to the astronauts in the habitable module.
Thomas Reiter, ESA director of Human Spaceflight and Operations says: “NASA’s decision to cooperate with ESA on their exploration programme with ESA delivering a critical element for the mission is a strong sign of trust and confidence in ESA’s capabilities, for ESA it is an important contribution to human exploration.”
The first Orion mission will be an uncrewed lunar fly-by in 2017, returning to Earth atmosphere at a speed of 11 km/s ¬– the fastest reentry ever.