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A* Episode 19, Page 70
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  A European service module for OrionNov 21, 2014 4:24 AM PST | url | discuss | + share
Added 1 new A* page:Earlier this week came the news that Europe signs on to Orion venture (BBC) - The ESA ("European Space Agency") has signed a contract to make the service module for the American "Orion" spacecraft intended eventually to take a manned mission to Mars; Lockheed Martin is building the other half, the "Orion capsule," which will house the crew; a stripped-down version is due for a preliminary test flight next month.
The service module will be based largely on the ATV ("Automated Transfer Vehicle") that the ESA has been using to ferry supplies to the International Space Station; the ATV is seen as having a reliable service record. And they're counting on another reliable performer in putting together the service module: the main thruster will be an old Space Shuttle engine.
The business end of the deal is a nice illustration of how international space stuff gets done: "America will pay nothing for the service module because it is being given as payment in kind to cover costs Europe will incur at the International Space Station from 2018 through 2020. It is part of a barter agreement - something that has become standard practice over the 16-year history of the ISS."
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