Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second space company, has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development and construction of the service module for Orion, the future American human space capsule. The contract is worth around 390 million euros. The service module will provide propulsion, power supply, thermal control and the central elements of the life support system of the American capsule.
The contract was signed in Berlin (Germany), in the presence of Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy.
It is the first time that Europe has been involved in providing system-critical elements for an American space project. In December 2012, U.S. space agency NASA and ESA had agreed to certify the new U.S. Orion spacecraft in conjunction with the European service module. This module is based on the design of and the experience gained from the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) developed and constructed by Airbus Defence and Space on behalf of ESA as a supply craft for the International Space Station.
“This follow-on contract is a mark of confidence in our expertise as well as in our ability to deliver reliable state-of-the-art space systems on time and within budget. Thanks to this programme and the continuous investments we make, we are able to maintain our technological lead,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “In the wake of the ATV’s outstanding five flawless missions to the ISS, this programme is yet another example of the important role that Europe plays globally in the field of human space flight.”
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