European Service Modules are presently being manufactured at Airbus plants

Credit: ESA–A. Conigli

The third and fourth European Service Modules (shown) are now being manufactured at Airbus facilities in Bremen, Germany. They are critical components of the Orion spacecraft, which will be the first to return humans to the moon since the 1970s. These modules provide propulsion, electricity, and temperature control to the spaceship, as well as water and oxygen to the crew. A European Service Module, a Crew Module Adapter, and a Crew Module comprise the Orion spacecraft. NASA provides the last two components.

It takes a team effort to power flights to the moon. More than twenty different businesses from ten different European nations build and provide the components and hardware utilized in the European Service Modules. When ready for launch, each module will weigh 13,500 kg, about two-thirds of which will be propellant (rocket fuel). More than 11 kilometers of wire are required to convey orders and collect data from the numerous onboard sensors. Tie wraps (yellow) are extremely helpful for keeping all these wires orderly, as seen in the photo.

The first European Service Module is currently mounted to the Orion spacecraft and will be launched later this year as part of Artemis I. The second European Service Module has been formally passed to NASA and is now being integrated at the Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout building. It will be utilized on the Artemis II mission, the first crewed journey to the moon in almost a half-century.

ESA's delivery of six European Service Modules ensures NASA's Artemis program maintains a sustained presence on and around the moon in international collaboration.

Post a Comment