ESA's European Structural Test Article testing in NASA's accoustic test facility in Plum Brook, USA. The first European hardware to arrive at NASA for Orion is the European Service Module structural test article. This test version of the service module has the same weight and configuration as the real thing and will undergo advanced testing at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio, USA.

Accoustic testing for structual test article

ESA’s European Structural Test Article has started testing at NASA’s accoustic test facility in Plum Brook, USA, to ensure it can withstand the loud noise and vibrations that all spacecraft endure during their launch into space. The first...

PQM Integration Readiness Review 1 (IRR1) at OHB Sweden, held on 22nd of March.

Orion update March-April

In February we reported on Orion spacecraft’s propulsion test qualification model main elements arriving in Sweden for assembling – time for an update. Although the Propulsion Qualification Module (PQM) will not go to space the model serves...

Solar array deployment test. Credits: Airbus
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Testing solar array

On 29 February a test model of Orion’s solar array was unfolded at NASA’s Plum Brook Station test facility in Sandusky, Ohio to check everything works as expected. The solar panels were made by Airbus Defence and...

Propulsion Module arrives in Stockholm

Another important part of the service module for the Orion spacecraft is getting ready for testing. The Propulsion Qualification Module will ensure that Orion’s thrusters and fuel system work, used to orient the spacecraft and send it...

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Interview: shaking and pounding Orion

ESA’s Anthony Thirkettle is a principal mechanical engineer working on Orion’s European-built service module, which provides propulsion and power for the spacecraft. He is interviewed by NASA’s “Orion Backstage” at NASA’s Glenn Research Center Plum Brook Station, USA,...

European Service Module test article mating to Orion Crew Module adapter. Credits: ESA/NASA

European Service Module structural test mating

  The first European hardware to arrive at NASA for Orion is the European Service Module structural test article. This test version of the service module has the same weight and configuration as the real thing and...

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Space Station live: Orion update

A talk with John McCullough, NASA’s Orion Vehicle Integration Manager, about the progress of preparing the spacecraft which will carry future astronauts to destinations beyond low Earth orbit. The capsule which will be used for the next uncrewed...

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Orion backstage with Tobias Fricke

Airbus quality engineer Tobias Fricke, discusses testing a structural representation of Orion’s service module at NASA Glenn Research Center’s Space Power Facility in Sandusky, USA. The service module is being built in Europe and is a critical...

Exploration Mission-1 video

This video shows the NASA’s first Orion mission profile using ESA’s service module. Exploration Mission-1 will go beyond the Moon and back. More info on the ESA website.  

From the Earth to the Moon book cover

A long way from Jules Verne

  As our blog is evolves from the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) into the Orion European Service Module, we were thinking of analogies to the service module’s function. Settling on ‘locomotive engine’, a member of ESA’s Orion...

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Replay of Orion – European Service Module press e...

åNASA Television broadcast a press event for the arrival of a full-size test version of ESA’s service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft at 17:30 GMT (18:30 CET) on Monday 30 November from NASA’s Plum Brook Station in...

Orion test ESM arriving in USA. Credits: NASA

Press event for arrival of test European Service Module...

NASA Television will broadcast an event for the arrival of a full-size test version of ESA’s service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft at 17:30 GMT (18:30 CET) on Monday 30 November from NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio. Event...

New artist impressions of Orion with service module

NASA released new images of the Orion spacecraft, now with a shinier look. ESA will supply the service module for Orion based on ATV technology. The module sits directly below Orion’s crew capsule and provides propulsion, power,...

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From the cutting room floor

A year before the ATV programme came to an end, we made some videos featuring our favourite spacecraft. With valuable help from ESTEC’s cameraman intern, videos were shot and edited in the style of “10 things you...

ATV training for astronauts Credit: ESA

3D training the astronaut way

Astronaut teachers are always looking for ways to improve their training, and the International Training Control Board (ITCB) is looking for ways to reduce the time spent training astronauts on ground and replace it with efficient “On-Board...

The Great Library of Alexandria, O. Von Corven, 19th century

ATV blog archive now available

We are really pleased today to share some great news: a downloadable archive of ESA’s ATV blog, spanning the ATV-2 to -5 missions, 2011-2015, is ready to go. This is Big News for everyone (like us!) who...

ATV-5 departs the Station. Credits: NASA

ATV parking lights

This ATV blog is in the process of being archived and going into retirement but great questions are still coming in that we feel obliged to answer. In response to our “ATV-made in USA” post Marcin asked:...

Expedition 45 "Return of the Jedi" poster. Credits: NASA

A long time ago in our galaxy…

The ATV programme might be over, but the legend lives on. Our favourite X-Wing aircraft shows up in NASA’s Expedition 45 poster to the left of the green lightsaber held by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. This is...

ATV Control Centre is switched off.
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ATV-CC decommissioning: Going, going…

Formatting, disconnecting and – Hop! – dismantled! Decommissioning the ATV Control Centre, especially the Main Control Room, is a long task, with a bit of nostalgia. The operation will last two to three months. A team of...

ATV in numbers

Another great recap of the five ATV missions from France’s space agency CNES… in numbers. This infographic in French gives an impression of the scale of running a spacecraft programme, below is a rough translation, without the...

ATV Control Centre web documentary

Interactive book on ATV Control Centre

Our friends at France’s space agency CNES have published an excellent interactive book on ATV seen through the eyes of the ATV Control Centre. From the first signatures in 1995 to the last command sent, the web...