Artemis plan or ArtemisThe goal of the program is to bring “the first woman and the next man” to the moon. It is led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but various space agencies are cooperating in this project.
These include the European Space Agency (ESA), which signed a new contract with Airbus this week to build three European Service Module (ESM) As Orion in the nave Astronauts will travel in it.
ESM provides the electricity, propulsion, air and consumables needed by the crew. Just like a locomotive moves a passenger car and supplies electricity, it will take care of the process of transporting the Orion manned cabin back to its destination and back to Earth.
This Three new ESM modulesTogether with many other products already in production, it will be integrated into Bremen (Germany). The construction and supply of hardware and components will be carried out by companies in ten European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
These modules are Four meters in diameter and height, Show Four solar panels The unfolded wingspan is 19 meters, which can provide enough power for the two houses.
This 8.6 tons of fuel oil Each unit can provide power for a main engine and 32 small thrusters. These also provide important life support elements for the crew, such as water and oxygen, and adjust the thermal control when docked to the manned module.
Illustration of the Orion spacecraft with the European Service Module (ESM) in which solar panels are deployed. /NASA
He emphasized: “The contract we have signed makes Europe promise to provide important hardware to send humans in Orion to the moon, which again doubles Europe’s commitment.” David Parker, Director of Human and Robot Exploration at ESA.
“Together with the elements we built for the lunar orbit station Gateway “He added,” This is a way to ensure that ESA astronauts have a way to explore our solar system and consolidate European employment and technical knowledge. “
For its part, Andreas HammerThe Director of Space Exploration at Airbus said that Europe has entered a new decade of exploration: “It is a strong and trusted partner for NASA’s Artemis mission, and these modules represent a vital contribution.”
Artemisa planning calendar
Artemis I,This is the first one Test flight The Orion unmanned ESM-1 is preparing and refueling at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, before launching into space later this year.
Next task Artemis II, Will take the lead Astronaut enters lunar orbit And bring them back to earth. The integration of the ESM-2 module has been completed in Bremen. It will then conduct various experiments and then move it to the United States in the late summer. In the second phase, up to four astronauts will orbit our satellite.
Will come later Artemis III, This is the mission NASA will perform The first woman and the next man on the moonIt was originally scheduled for 2024, when the first humans since December 1972 will return to the lunar surface.
The announced modules will now be used in missions Artemis IV and VI.The first two constitute Europe’s contribution to the future international platform Gateway, The space station that will orbit the moon, The first element They may be released next year.
An illustration of Gateway, a lunar orbital station built by commercial and international partners, is essential for the sustainable exploration of the moon, and it will serve as a model for future trips to Mars. /NASA