The European Space Agency or “ESA” has approved funds to produce elements of NASA’s Orion spacecraft Service Module. Image Credit: NASA

NASA plans to test out the reentry qualities of the Orion heat shield during the 2014 Exploration Flight Test 1. Image Credit: NASA

ESA Approves Measure to Produce Orion Spacecraft’s Service Module

By Jason Rhian

The European Space Agency (ESA) has big plans for the future, ones that could prove beneficial to NASA’s human space flight ambitions as well. ESA concluded a council meeting where some 10 billion Euros were set aside for ESA’s future space objectives. One of these endeavors was the Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle or Orion MPCV.

The ministers attending the conference gave the thumbs up to providing the Service Module to Orion. This will essentially cover ESA’s contribution to the International Space Station (ISS) project for the period between 2017-2020. It will also allow ESA to begin participating with NASA’s future human space exploration efforts.

In an article appearing in the BBC, ESA’s Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, confirmed that ESA would develop specific components for the Orion spacecraft’s Service Module. To date, ESA only will provide these elements once—for NASA’s planned 2017 launch of the spacecraft on its new Space Launch System (SLS). The mission will be unmanned. ESA will provide certain elements for the Service Module; these will be derived from their Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which is used to ferry supplies to the ISS.

Read more: ESA Approves Measure to Produce Orion Spacecraft’s Service Module « AmericaSpace.

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