NASA Signs Agreement for a European-Provided Orion Service Module

ESA will provide the service module for the Orion spacecraft.

There are three major components to the Orion vehicle:

  • Crew capsule, which will carry four astronauts into space on crewed flights and bring them home for a safe landing.
  • Launch abort system, which would pull the crew module to safety in the unlikely event of a life-threatening problem during launch.
  • Service module, which will house Orion’s power, thermal and propulsion systems.

The service module is located directly below the crew capsule and will contain the in-space propulsion capability for orbital transfer, attitude control and high-altitude ascent aborts. It also will generate and store power and provide thermal control, water and air for the astronauts. It will remain connected to the crew module until just before the capsule returns to Earth.

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