OHB-SWE is in charge of assembling, integrating and performing the acceptance testing of the ESM propulsion qualification model (PQM). The Orion-stakeholders from NASA, ESA and Airbus DS met in Stockholm on 13th September 2016 to track the AIT-progress.


OHB-SWE Activities

The qualification model can be described as a representation of the propulsion system. It is much heavier than the service module as it will be staying on the ground. Although the Propulsion Qualification Module (PQM) will not go to space, it serves an important role in the development process: ensuring everything works according to plan.

Tracking AIT-Progress

The Orion-stakeholders from NASA, ESA and Airbus DS met in Stockholm on 13th September 2016 to track the AIT-progress. The morning was reserved for presentations and to showcase the AIT capabilities of OHB-SWE. This was followed by a press event with a member of the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) and a visit to the clean room, including interviews with the different Swedish camera teams in the afternoon.

Some facts about the PQM-Model

The Propulsion Qualification Model is a solid steel construction. Its dimensions are 4.1m x 4.1m x 4.6m (length x width x height). The model houses the Orion ESM propulsion subsystem, which comprises four stainless-steel tanks 2000 litres each and a wall thickness of one cm. The tanks will hold the propellants at a pressure of 25 bar with a total capacity of nine tons. Other elements of the PQM include two high-pressure helium tanks; pressure-control systems; the sensing and command system with drive electronics; the propellant lines with shut-off valves, filters, and of course engines that will propel and orient Orion. The engines that are part of the propulsion system include a US Space Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engine as main engine, eight auxiliary thrusters and 12 smaller thrusters for the Reaction Control System, which are produced by Airbus Safran Launchers (former Airbus DS) in Lampoldshausen, Germany.

From Integration in Sweden to hot firing in the US

After the integration at OHB-SWE in Stockholm is complete, the PQM will be transported in late 2016 to the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico (USA). The final acceptance tests of the PQM will also take place at the test stand in New Mexico in 2017. This includes the hot firing test campaign conducted by Airbus DS. Mark Michaelis, Orion ESM Propulsion Subsystem PQM Delivery Manager, summarizes the OHB-SWE press and stakeholder event as follows: "All in all, the event at OHB-SWE was very successful and motivating, as it showcased the importance of the PQM for the entire Orion-project. The media coverage was excellent!"