Orion frame work

June 15, 2017, European Space Agency
Credit: ESA

Set to be shipped to the USA around the New Year, ESA's contribution to NASA's Orion spacecraft is taking shape at Airbus in Bremen, Germany. This is no test article: the service module pictured here will fly into space by 2020, past the Moon and farther than any other human-rated spacecraft has ever flown before.

The service module will supply electricity, water, oxygen and nitrogen, propulsion and temperature control.

The blue circular frame is the support structure that holds the module as technicians work to get it ready. Yellow ties keep the 11 km of wiring in place as the thousands of components are installed and connected – the ties will be removed before flight. Behind the red support covers are the eight 490 N R-4-D-11 thrusters, built by Aerojet.

Technicians are working in three shifts a day to assemble the components that are being shipped from all over Europe to complete this in just a few months' time. In December it will be taken by road to Bremen airport and flown to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to meet its crew capsule.

Explore further: Image: Orion spacecraft progresses with installation of module to test propulsion systems

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