Orion with European Service Module
Science & Exploration

Air and water

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Orion

A vital role of Europe’s Service Module for the Orion spacecraft is providing air and water for the astronauts in the crew module.

With astronauts needing up to three litres of water and almost a kilogram of oxygen a day, the tanks are sized to allow for long missions.

Four water tanks hold 240 litres pumped to the capsule as needed.

Air for breathing is stored as separate gases, with one tank holding 30 kg of nitrogen and three tanks of oxygen totalling 90 kg. The oxygen and nitrogen are mixed into the capsule for the astronauts to breathe. 

Technical details

  • Four water tanks provide 240 kg of potable water
    • Cylindrical tanks from Thales Alenia Space Italy, with metallic bellows
    • Water is filled before launch in USA
  • Gas
    • One nitrogen holds 30 kg of nitrogen
    • Three oxygen tanks hold 90 kg of oxygen
    • Cylindrical-spherical tanks with composite overwrap
    • Made by US company Vivace

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