Orion service module – from components to shipping


A look at the elements that make up the European service module that will provide power, water, air and electricity to NASA’s Orion Moon module.

Made in Europe the service module is integrated in Bremen, Germany, from where it will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the USA for testing and getting ready for launch.

Inside the Service Module, large tanks hold fuel as well consumables for the astronauts: oxygen, nitrogen and water.

Radiators and heat exchangers keep the astronauts and equipment at a comfortable temperature, while the module’s structure is the backbone of the entire vehicle, like a car chassis.

The European Service Module is built by main contractor Airbus, with many companies all over Europe supplying components.

Orion will eventually fly beyond the Moon with astronauts, the first time a spacecraft will support humans with European hardware will also be the farthest humans ever travel from Earth. The first mission – without astronauts – is getting ready for launch in 2019.

Find out more about Orion and ESM: http://www.esa.int/orion

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  1. Now that the service module is ready it will be packed into a container and shipped on the largest plane in the world Antonov where it will make a 16 hour flight from Bremen to Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center where it will be unloaded, paraded through the Kennedy complex and delivered to the Operation's and Checkout Building where it will be mated to Orion and lowered into the vacuum chamber. Next year after testing Orion will be shipped to the Payload Hazardous Facility and loaded with fuel before it is taken to the Launch Abort System Facility where the Escape Tower will be added. Once integration is complete next stop is the VAB where stacking will begin.

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