An artist’s impression of ESA’s service module for the Orion spacecraft with all engines visible.
The module sits directly below Orion’s crew capsule and provides propulsion, power, thermal control, and water and air for four astronauts. The solar array spans 19 m and provides enough to power two households.
A total of 33 engines of three types provide thrust to manoeuvre the spacecraft on all axes.
The main engine on the first mission is a repurposed Space Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System engine that has flown in space before.
This engine provides 25.7 kN, enough to lift a van, and can swivel in pitch and yaw.
Eight thrusters are placed as a backup and provide 490 N each – enough to lift 50 kg on Earth. These are fixed at the bottom of the Service Module to provide orbit corrections and as a backup to the main engine.
Lastly, 24 smaller engines grouped into six pods provide attitude control. In fixed positions, they can be fired individually as needed to move the spacecraft in different directions and rotate it into any position.