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Orion ESM

Orion ESM

Orion is NASA鈥檚 next spacecraft to send humans into space. It is designed to send astronauts further into space than ever before, beyond the Moon to asteroids and even Mars. The European Service Module (ESM) 聽is Europe鈥檚 contribution to the Orion spacecraft. It provides propulsion, power, water, oxygen and nitrogen as well as keeping the spacecraft at the right temperature and on course.

25
November

First voyage for spaceship Orion

The Orion spaceship took off on board a Super Guppy aircraft from聽the Kennedy Space Centre聽on Sunday, November 24: destination聽the world鈥檚 largest thermal vacuum chamber, owned by NASA. This is where the hot test phase for the spacecraft will begin. The Super Guppy landed at Mansfield, Ohio. The transfer to Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, is scheduled for Tuesday, November 26th.

A team of engineers and technicians from AG真人计划, the European Space Agency, ESA, Lockheed Martin and NASA are ready to put the spacecraft聽through simulations of聽extreme space conditions.

"With the tests, we will show that the spacecraft's systems work as planned and at the same time ensure safe operation for the astronauts on future missions - both on the ground and on board," says Matthias Gronowski, Chief Engineer for the European Service Module that AG真人计划 is building for NASA on behalf of the European Space Agency, ESA.聽聽

The tests will be conducted in two phases in the world's largest vacuum chamber at NASA's Glenn Test Center in Plum Brook, Ohio. First there will be a 63-day thermal test. Orion's electrical systems聽will be switched on and operated under vacuum and in temperatures which聽simulate the environmental conditions in space.

During this phase, the spacecraft will be exposed to extreme temperatures of about minus 115 to 75 degrees Celsius to reproduce the spacecraft's behaviour when exposed to and hidden from the聽sun in space.

The second phase is an electromagnetic聽compatibility test, which lasts about 14 days. Each electronic component emits a kind of electromagnetic field that can affect the performance of other nearby electronics. These tests ensure that the spacecraft's electronics function properly while operating.

"This is a very important milestone for the journey to the moon," says Gronowski. "The international team has been working towards this goal for three years now, and in recent months we have mechanically and electrically connected the Crew Module (astronaut capsule) and the European Service Module at Kennedy Space Centre聽What matters now is that we can show that the service module works under the extreme conditions of space," Gronowski continues.聽

"I congratulate the whole team for making it to this point," says Valerie Cazes, AG真人计划 Programme Manager for ESM. "This was only possible with a great deal of commitment, attention to detail and passion. Now I wish all participants good luck for the coming, decisive months".

After successful testing, Orion will return to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, where further tests and preparations for integration with the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will start before the launch of Artemis I at the end of 2020.

ESA's European Service Module will provide propulsion, power, air and water for the astronauts, as well as thermal control of the entire spacecraft. The first launch -聽without astronauts - is planned for the end of 2020. Artemis I聽will travel once聽around the moon and back to Earth.聽 AG真人计划 in Bremen is already building the second Orion Service Module, with which astronauts will fly to the Moon and back to Earth for the first time (2022 / 2023).

Infographic Orion ESM
 

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