The ESM 3 contract, signed yesterday by Thales Alenia Space, has a value of approximately 75 million euros. Thales Alenia Space will develop and supply key systems for the third flight unit, including structural and micro-meteoric protection, thermal control and storage and distribution of consumables. “This contract confirms the high level we have gained in the construction of infrastructures in the field of space exploration and transport – says Massimo Comparini, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in Italy – It also reflects the long experience of our company in the field of flights human space. The future of space exploration depends on the robustness of technologies, the safety and comfort of astronauts, Thales Alenia Space solutions are a perfect synergy between these three parameters ».
The technological basis
The Orion service modules are made on the technological basis developed for the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) automatic cargo modules: five were built, all developed and integrated also in Turin, and then shipped loaded with tons of supplies to the station. International Space. They were launched with an Ariane carrier, without astronauts, and then reached the Space Station in automatic mode. Orion modules have a structure and characteristics similar to ATVs, they maintain their long photovoltaic wings, but are now equipped with a powerful liquid fuel engine. Orion’s first mission, in 2021, will be unmanned, with the spacecraft making an Earth-Moon journey, orbiting our natural satellite, and then returning to Earth, landing in the Pacific Ocean. Later, in 2022, the mission will be repeated, but with three astronauts on board, for a trip around the Moon. With the third mission, the one with the first module built in Turin, the first landing of two astronauts is planned, and later the Lunar Gateway Lunar Platform will be almost fully operational, which will be formed by a European pressurized module, which also it will pass through Turin for development and integration. From the fourth mission onwards, the lunar program will be started, with subsequent landings and with a subsequent colonization program of the Moon.