Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  [Discuss] ESA to supply service module for Orion

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   [Discuss] ESA to supply service module for Orion
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-22-2012 2:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the topic ESA to supply service module for NASA's Orion focused on status updates, readers' feedback and opinions have been moved to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss the Orion service module as ESA develops it for NASA's next generation crewed spacecraft.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 11-22-2012 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The European Space Agency (ESA) apparently decided to accept NASA's invitation to work on a service module for the Orion's crew module.
ESA also decided to move forward with supplying the Service Module for NASA's Orion. "For the first time, ESA is developing a cruise vehicle together with NASA," said ESA spokesman Franco Bonacina. The Service Module will be based on ESA's ATV cargo ship that supplies the International Space Station. The historic move commits ESA to a long term cooperation with NASA in human space exploration. It was largely made possible by an increased funding commitment from the United Kingdom of 20 million euros towards the initiative. ESA has made arrangements with NASA to allow the Service Module to constitute ESA's payment in kind for the ISS for 2017-2020. The move had generated some controversy due to the resulting designation of ESA as a subcontractor, which many feared would be off-putting to the general public.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-22-2012 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now further reports on ESA's commitment to supply the Orion service module.
The initial investment, worth $320 million over the next two years, will start development of a propulsion and power module for the Orion multipurpose crew vehicle, or MPCV.

Britain, which has eschewed contributing the space station in the past, put the proposal over the top with a pledge to pay 20 million euros, or about $25 million, for the service module.

Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA's director general, said the development could help a European astronaut secure a spot on Orion crews bound for deep space, the moon, or asteroids. The European-built service module will contain fuel tanks, provide propulsion, and hold Orion's solar panels to generate electricity. NASA plans to provide a maneuvering engine to mount on the service module.

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-22-2012 06:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
During the Atlantis roll over NASA had a temporary building set up (geodesic dome) and was showing "the future of NASA" on the ceiling.

In one scene they had the Orion docked to an ESA ATV heading out to the moon. Right after that they showed a graphic of the Earth and moon laying out the Lagrange Point I thought is was a neat concept, but it is looking like it is starting to come together as a plan.

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-23-2012 05:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a great and logical step forward that really could lead to grand ventures. Just a pity that the UK could only stump up less than 10% of the development cost, when the government wants a £30 billion space industry by 2030. But then talk is cheap...and the government will be long gone by 2030.

issman1
Member

Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 11-23-2012 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With Obama's re-election and EU ministers approving ESA involvement in Orion, does this mean a guaranteed future for human spaceflight beyond ISS in North America and Western Europe?

SkyMan1958
Member

Posts: 355
From: CA.
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 11-23-2012 11:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately the simple answer is no.

...just look at ExoMars.

carl walker
Member

Posts: 178
From: Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 01-14-2013 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carl walker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Keep watching here...

dogcrew5369
Member

Posts: 547
From: Statesville, NC
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 01-15-2013 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What saddens me is we (USA) can't even fully supply our own spaceship. I hope this isn't just another clue that we are on the decline as a nation.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2123
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 01-15-2013 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It could be looked at another way, too: Europe can't fully fund a spaceship, so they're looking at the US.

Besides, with spaceflight expensive, is it a bad thing to share the cost?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-15-2013 09:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spacelab enhanced the space shuttle program and the Tranquility node enhanced the ISS (to say nothing of the other MPLMs and the Columbus lab).

They weren't signs of decline, nor does a European built service module need to be one.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 01-16-2013 02:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spacelab is a very good analogy as I've done quite a bit of research on it. NASA wanted some sort of a payload bay mounted lab so they could help reduce the total cost of shuttle flights by opening it up for more use. But, NASA's funding was mostly tied up with development of the vehicle itself. ESA (technically ELDO and ESRO as the two agencies hadn't merged yet) came along at the right time as they wanted a bigger stake in space hardware development. With the pressurized module and/or pallets installed, technically the shuttle became an "international" spacecraft as the ESA wasn't just another sub-contractor as they were practically a partner on supplying that hardware from day one. The whole program gave ESA and its subcontractor workforce A LOT of experience in making hardware for manned flight and they applied the lessons they learned directly to their ISS endeavors. At first, the Spacelabs were only supposed to be but a small part of the overall shuttle program. But in the end, most of the shuttle missions that flew utilized lab hardware since scientific research flights became the order of the day.

Public perception of ESA as a "subcontractor" I wouldn't worry so much about as they were labeled that way during Spacelab's development. The contract called for NASA to buy the hardware direct from ESA at a set price and it became NASA property. This lead to a lot of bitter feelings in the European press as the perception was that Europeans had to pay NASA to fly "their" (i.e. Europe's) Spacelab. So it is nothing they haven't seen before.

The only weird bit of irony is the ESA didn't become the primary customer for spacelab flights. There was a bit of friction between NASA and ESA as ESA had some hopes that perhaps in exchange for providing the spacelab hardware, that they would get a price break for flying missions with it after the initial flights (which there was an agreement on to fly ESA's first payload specialists). But NASA could not accomodate that since by law they still have to charge an American company the same price for flight, even if that company also provides a critical piece of hardware. Hindsight being equal though, if the ESA had spent money in the late 1970s to fund some dedicated ESA Spacelab flights, they likely would have come away with a major bargain given how much the cost of shuttle operations ballooned over the next decade.

There are a couple direct benefits I see of NASA going this route with an ESA supplied service module. First of all, a bit of the hardware has already been flight proven. So if money comes, the modified hardware can be developed faster. Secondly, the ESA can also keep their ATV production lines open since currently it is the heavy "up mass" hauler for the ISS. So they could potentially build more cargo vehicles. ESA also had entertained some proposals to make their own cargo return capsule (ala Dragon) as well and could perhaps spin off the research to make their own manned craft, which they could still theoretically do if somehow Orion development got stretched out once again.

Now if ESA has the desire to man rate their Ariane V booster (which had provisions for man rating early in its design since it was intended for Hermes), stick an ATV derived manned vehicle on top of that and I would think the ESA would have the capability of sending a spacecraft on lunar flyby missions, or ones to an asteroid or two (assuming I am correct about how much weight it can lift). Their launch site in French Guiana already gives them quite a benefit for launching vehicles into low inclination orbits.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 537
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 01-16-2013 06:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
But in the end, most of the shuttle missions that flew utilized lab hardware since scientific research flights became the order of the day.
There were only 15 flights that used the module. And most of the time when pallets flew, it was not for research but as a support structure for other missions. The MSFC develop MPESS flew more.
quote:
Secondly, the ESA can also keep their ATV production lines open since currently it is the heavy "up mass" hauler for the ISS.
The ESA SM will not be an ATV derivative. It will be base on ATV technology, it not going to use the same structure, tanks or solar arrays. So the ATV "production" line is really of no use.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 01-19-2013 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
The ESA SM will not be an ATV derivative. It will be base on ATV technology, it not going to use the same structure, tanks or solar arrays. So the ATV "production" line is really of no use.

Point taken on Spacelab hardware as indeed I wasn't mentioning just the pressurized lab as the pallet racks were just as much a part of the Spacelab project (and they provided use long after the pressurized lab had been retired).

Yes ATV and Orion's SM are going to be two different spacecraft, but there is a fair bit of technology that crosses over from one system to the other, meaning even if the major hardware is different, there will still be the potential for cost savings on the sub-systems from the sub-contractors to ESA and NASA. Besides, NASA seems to be banking on enough lessons from the ATV hardware transferring over to use in Orion's service module. Granted it may just be down to a legal language exercise on paper. But if the two systems were very different, NASA would as I see it have to go through a more lengthy design certification process.

If NASA is really trying to target 2017 as the date of the first unmanned space test of an integrated Orion (at a glance, I doubt they are going to hit that date as that is only 4 years away), that tells me they are banking on some time savings in the development aspects of the service module.

While the ATV production line itself probably won't be re-opened for this, if contractors are making hardware for the Orion SM and the specs are close enough, the workforce will still potentially be familiar enough with the original ATV architecture so the costs and work associated with restarting the production line for more ATVs (or perhaps a more Orion based ATV 2.0) shouldn't be as high. The member nations of ESA seems to be banking on that as I see it (which is a smart strategy).

So, how long will it be before some wag at NASA (or ESA) labels the new Orion configuration the "X-Wing fighter"? I can see it now, when the first command is given to unfurl the solar arrays, the checklist will say "Lock Solar-foils in attack position".

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement