When America rockets a new generation of explorers to the Moon aboard NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle, its service module will be the powerhouse that fuels and propels the spacecraft, and the storehouse for life support consumables for the astronauts use during their space travels.
Created in collaboration with ESA (European Space Agency), the service module located directly below the crew module, will contain the in-space propulsion capability for orbital transfer, attitude control and high-altitude ascent aborts. It will also generate power using solar arrays and store it, and provide thermal control, water and air for the astronauts until just before their return to Earth, when it will separate from the crew module.
The service module will support the crew module starting before launch until just before the two modules separate for Earth reentry. An umbilical housing will contain the fluid, electrical and data connections between the service module and the crew module. As the spacecraft nears Earth, the umbilical will be disconnected. The service module will be jettisoned just before the crew module reenters Earth’s atmosphere.
THE PRIMARY THRUST
STAYING THE COURSE WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
THE POWER TO FLY
TAKING THE HEAT
STAYING IN TOUCH
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER