Artist's impression of ESA's ATV
Science & Exploration

History

1189 views 4 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Orion

Orion’s service module has evolved out of ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) that serviced the International Space Station five times between Since 2008 and 2015. 

First ATV, Jules Verne, approaches Space Station 2008
First ATV, Jules Verne, approaches Space Station 2008

ATV was conceived in 1987 and in 1994, ESA and Russia discussed the possibility of using the vehicle for a new station. The decision to build it was taken in October 1995 and development began the following year.

ATV became ESA’s largest spacecraft and set records for most equipment delivered to the International Space Station. The spacecraft’s role was to supply water, air, equipment and fuel as well as push the Station to raise its orbit or avoid space debris. At the end of a mission, ATV was filled with waste to burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere.

The International Space Station with ATV-2 and Endeavour
The International Space Station with ATV-2 and Endeavour

The spacecraft formed part of the Station’s supply fleet, alongside Russia’s Progress and Soyuz, Japan’s HII Transfer Vehicle and America’s Dragon and Cygnus commercial ferries.

As one of the most versatile spacecraft to visit the Space Station, the tried and proven technology behind ATV was chosen in 2013 to power NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

ATV-4 approaches Space Station...
ATV-4 approaches Space Station...

The two service modules resemble each other in terms of size, solar array layout, engine placement and hull, with the addition of the crew capsule and large main engine the markedly visible differences. Many elements have been improved or replaced with enhanced models.

The Automated Transfer Vehicle was Europe’s first spacecraft for human spaceflight; its evolution is now set to power astronauts further than human beings have ever travelled before.

...artist's impression of Orion
...artist's impression of Orion

Related Articles

What is Orion?
Science & Exploration

Orion European Service Module media kit

1423 views 5 likes
Read
Welcome to America
Science & Exploration

Touch down: European module arrives at Kennedy Space Center…

07/11/2018 6742 views 115 likes
Read
Orion
Science & Exploration

Goodbye Europe, hello Moon: European Module ships soon

30/10/2018 7274 views 130 likes
Read
Orion Service Module-1 radiator installation
Science & Exploration

Orion’s first Service Module integration complete

18/09/2018 7013 views 92 likes
Read
European skeleton for Orion
Science & Exploration

Skeleton structure for Orion Moon module arrives for assemb…

03/05/2018 4669 views 58 likes
Read
Orion service module fuel tank installation
Science & Exploration

Fuel tanks and wings for Orion module

23/04/2018 6422 views 57 likes
Read
Orion with European Service Module
Science & Exploration

The road to Orion’s launch

09/11/2017 8864 views 167 likes
Read
Orion and European Service Module orbiting Earth
Science & Exploration

Artemis 2

6505 views 20 likes
Read
Matthias Maurer at Airbus Defence and Space
Science & Exploration

Building Orion service module for first astronaut mission

17/02/2017 3685 views 52 likes
Read
Orion with European Service Module
Science & Exploration

ESA to supply Service Module for first crewed Orion mission

07/12/2016 9576 views 179 likes
Read
Orion service module
Science & Exploration

Critical design milestone for Orion’s European service modu…

27/06/2016 2431 views 18 likes
Read
Science & Exploration

Orion’s European module ready for testing

10/11/2015 11990 views 108 likes
Read
Exploration Flight Test-1
Science & Exploration

Orion test sets stage for ESA service module

05/12/2014 14612 views 126 likes
Read
Orion
Science & Exploration

European Orion milestone leads to detailed design

23/05/2014 5246 views 29 likes
Read

Related Links