The main engine for the European Service Module that will power NASA’s Orion spacecraft was installed with the rest of the spacecraft at Airbus’s assembly hall in Bremen, Germany, this week.
This engine will provide the main thrust during Orion’s journey to the Moon once it has separated from its launcher. It is one of 33 engines that were already installed.
The first Orion exploration mission will fly beyond the Moon with a European-built service module to provide electricity, water, oxygen and nitrogen as well as keeping the spacecraft at the right temperature and on course.
The main engine on the first mission is a repurposed Space Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System engine that has flown 19 times in space before on Space Shuttle Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis, from 1984 to its last flight in space in 2002 on the STS-112 mission. It provides 25.7 kN thrust, enough to lift a van, and can swivel in pitch and yaw.
Production of the first service module is nearing completion with a shipment to USA for further tests and integration later this year.