Orion European Service Module test article
Science & Exploration

Structural

2016 views 11 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Orion

A spacecraft must withstand many stresses, from the vibration of launch to temperature changes in space and changes in pressure from Earth to space.

The European Service Module provides structural rigidity to the Orion spacecraft much like the chassis of a car. It absorbs the vibrations and energy from launch and protects them from micrometeoroids and space debris.

The European Service Module connects the crew module to the launcher and absorbs the vibrations from a rocket that has the equivalent thrust of 34 Jumbo Jets.

The service module’s secondary structure supports elements such as the spacecraft’s thrusters and water tanks.

ATV shielding after impact test
ATV shielding after impact test

Lastly, the European Service Module is covered in multilayer material that absorbs impacts from tiny, high-speed objects in space. Micrometeoroids and space debris are serious threats: the impact of a paint flake travelling at up to 72 km/s can have serious consequences.

The module has a Kevlar-reinforced Whipple shield with two layers of armour standing above the spacecraft’s shell. Any objects that strike the shield break into fragments on impact with the outer layer, and then the inner layer stops anything from penetrating the vessel and its mission-critical hardware. 

Technical details:

  • Primary structure ensures structural continuity between launcher and Crew Module Adapter
    • Longerons assembly
    • Webs assembly
    • Tanks bulkhead (or tanks platform)
    • Lower platform assembly
  • Secondary structure
    • Tank support
    • Thruster pod support
    • Main engine support
  • Micrometeoroids and Debris Protection System (MDPS)
    • Metallic MDPS (aft bumper and local protections)
    • Nextel / Kevlar MDPS (aft part of the ESM, and behind the radiators)

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