Home > Electrical/Electronics > The ‘Engine’ That Will Take Man To Mars: Airbus Delivers First Orion Capsule Powerplant To NASA

The ‘Engine’ That Will Take Man To Mars: Airbus Delivers First Orion Capsule Powerplant To NASA

Europe’s Airbus said on Friday it had delivered the ‘powerhouse’ for NASA’s new Orion Spaceship that will take astronauts to the Moon and beyond in coming years, hitting a key milestone that should lead to hundreds of millions of euros in future orders.

Engineers at the Airbus plant in Bremen, Germany on Thursday carefully packed the spacecraft into a special container that will fly aboard a huge Antonov cargo plane to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a first step on its way to deep space.

In Florida, the module will be joined with the Orion crew module built by Lockheed Martin, followed by over a year of intensive testing before the first three-week mission orbiting the Moon is launched in 2020, albeit without people.

WHAT IS IT?

Airbus’s European Service Module will provide propulsion, power, thermal control and consumables to the Orion crew module, marking the first time that NASA will use a European-built system as a critical element to power an American spacecraft.

Current plans call for a first crewed mission in 2022, but NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) then plan to launch a manned mission every year, making the Orion project both politically and economically important at a time when China and other countries are racing to gain a foothold in space.

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Airbus’s European Service Module will provide propulsion, power, thermal control and consumables to the Orion crew module, marking the first time that NASA will use a European-built system as a critical element to power an American spacecraft.

‘This is a very big step,’ Oliver Juckenhoefel, vice president of on-orbit services and exploration for Airbus, told Reuters.

‘The delivery and the flight to America are just the beginning of a journey that will ultimately take us to 60,000 miles beyond the moon, further than any human has ever flown before,’

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