A look at the propulsion side of the Orion European Service Module (ESM) structural test model. Airbus Defence and Space is preparing to deliver the ESM structural test model to NASA. The model is an exact copy of the flight model, only without the functionality. It will determine whether the structural and weight specifications have been met, and whether the module lives up to NASA’s crew safety requirements. Testing will take place at NASA’s Plum Brook Station test centre in Ohio, USA.
The design of the ESM is based on the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the European supply craft for the International Space Station. It is a cylindrical module with a diameter of 4.5 metres and a total length – main engine excluded – of 2.7 metres. It is fitted with four solar array ‘wings’ with a span of 18.8 metres. Besides propulsion and power, the ESM is also equipped with oxygen tanks to supply the crew.