European Space Agency (ESA) has signed another contract with Airbus for the construction of three European Service Modules (ESM) of the American crewed spacecraft Orion for the Artemis program.
ESA with these additional Service Modules as well as three modules NASAwill ensure the continuity of its current contract with Airbus in the Artemis program. The European Service Module will be used to fly astronauts to the Moon. As the powerhouse of the new Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis missions, it will provide critical functions such as the propulsion system to take astronauts to the Moon, and the consumables astronauts need to survive.
“Europe has entered a new ten-year phase of exploration. Building six Orion European Service Modules is a unique initiative to date. Airbus has the world’s best minds in space exploration working on this extraordinary vehicle,” said Andreas Hammer, Head of Airbus Space Research. “The new agreement will also facilitate the mission of going to many future moons through international partnerships. Europe is a strong and reliable partner in NASA’s Artemis missions.”
BOTH EXPLORATION AND EMPLOYMENT
David Parker, Director of Human and Robotics Exploration, ESA, said: “This contract doubles Europe’s commitment to send human beings to the Moon with Orion by providing vital equipment. With the elements we have built for interstellar roaming, ESA astronauts can explore our Solar System. “We provide employment and technological know-how for Europe while guaranteeing seats.”
The ESM is cylindrical and approximately four meters in diameter and height. It has four solar panels (19 meters wide when turned on) that generate enough energy to power two households. The service module’s 8.6 tons of fuel can power one main engine and 32 small propellants. The total weight of the ESM is just over 13 tons. The module will be responsible for ESM trajectory maneuvers and position control in addition to the main propulsion system function for the Orion spacecraft. It will also provide the crew with central elements of life support such as water and oxygen, and regulate thermal control while attached to the crew module.
FIRST FLIGHT WITHOUT CREW IS IN 2021
Artemis I, the first crewless Orion test flight with a European Service Module, will make its first flight in 2021. As part of the next mission, the first astronauts will fly around the Moon and return to Earth. With Artemis III, NASA will use innovative technologies to explore the lunar surface more than ever before, landing the first female astronaut and then a male astronaut on the Moon by 2024. The ESMs announced today, the first two, will be used for Artemis IV – VI missions, part of the European contribution of the international Gateway, which is planned to be installed in lunar orbit from 2024.
Source: Space Mage Turkey