In November Airbus DS will deliver the structural test article for the European Service Module to NASA. The structural test article is an exact copy of the flight model, only without the functionality. It will determine whether the structural and weight specifications have been met, and whether the module lives up to NASA’s crew safety requirements. Testing will take place in Sandusky in the U.S. state of Ohio, home to NASA’s Plum Brook Station test centre.
2018 is the launch year for the first Orion mission – which will be uncrewed and powered by the European Service Module built by Airbus Defence and Space. The service module fulfils the role of a power plant. It drives the capsule and provides fuel and energy. It is also equipped with oxygen tanks to supply the crew. During the mission, it remains permanently attached to the capsule, detaching only shortly before the spacecraft re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere.