Monday, November 17, 2014
Airbus Group will develop and build a service module for the U.S. space capsule, Orion, the first marking the first time a European firm will provide system-critical elements for a U.S. space project. Airbus Defense and Space, Europe's largest aerospace group, said the contract signed with the European Space Agency is worth around $488 million. The service module will provide propulsion, power supply, thermal control and the central elements of the life support system of the capsule designed for deep space missions. The module is based on the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) developed and constructed by Airbus on behalf of ESA as a supply craft for the International Space Station. (Source: multiple, including Reuters, 11/17/14, Space Daily, 11/18/14) Gulf Coast connections: The first space-bound Orion, slated to launch next month atop a Delta IV, was built at Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans. The Delta IV's RS-68 engines were tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.; Future Orion launches will be aboard NASA's massive Space Launch System, being built in part at Michoud Assembly Facility. The SLS's RS-25 engines will be tested at Stennis Space Center; Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., where it also has an engineering center and an Airbus Military operation.