Orion Spacecraft to Have Engine Delivered by the End of October

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is one of three important American technologies being developed to carry humans to the Moon and Mars, alongside the Crew Dragon from SpaceX and Starliner from Boeing.
European Service Module for the Orion spacecraft 8 photos
Photo: ESA
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All three are in the final stages of development, caught up in a race of sorts. This race will lead to the crewed launch of the two private capsules next year, but Orion is somewhat behind, with a launch date envisioned sometime past 2020.

This is partly because the capsule is not being built by the American space agency alone, but with the help of the European one. ESA is responsible for one of the key components of the Orion, the so-called European Service Module. It is, in fact, the assembly that contains the engine of the craft.

At a conference held in Germany at the beginning of the month – Bremen, Germany, is the place where the module was assembled - Nico Dettmann, head of ESA’s Exploration Development Group, said the module is almost ready and will be shipped to the U.S. for integration into the spacecraft by the end of the month.

The European module is 4 meters long and includes the main engine and tanks for gas and propellant. The unit itself wears the name Orbital Maneuvering System Engine, and is a repurposed shuttle engine that saw action in space before.

According to ESA, after its integration into the Service Module, the engine is capable of generating 25.7 kN of force. It is backed by eight thrusters developing 490 N each and used for orbit corrections and as a backup.

An additional 24 smaller engines grouped into six pods that can be fired individually, provide attitude control.

The tanks of the module are there to house oxygen, nitrogen, and water, as well as fuel. Radiators and heat exchangers are also included to provide for optimum temperature.

The European Service Module project was developed by Airbus Defence and Space, with parts for the build sourced from countless European companies.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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