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Enabling a return to the Moon with the European Space Agency (esa)

The Orion Service Module is here in the US to prepare for a Moon mission. This module was designed and built by the European Space Agency (esa)

The first European Service Module  for NASA's Orion spacecraft was loaded onto a transport plane in Bremen, Germany, on Nov. 5, 2018, and has arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA will use this European-built system to propel, power, and cool NASA's Mars Orion spacecraft1. (Image courtesy of NASA/Rad Sinyak)

The first European Service Module for NASA's Orion spacecraft was loaded onto a transport plane in Bremen, Germany, on Nov. 5, 2018, and has arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA will use this European-built system to propel, power, and cool NASA’s Mars Orion spacecraft1 . (Image courtesy of NASA/Rad Sinyak)

The service module will perform in-space maneuvering throughout the mission, including course corrections as well.

<>We’re finally returning to the Moon

Astronaut Harrison Schmitt told me that we need to return to the Moon. That was in 2013 (Apollo 17: The last men on the Moon) Schmitt wrote a book entitled “Return to the Moon” that discusses the mining of Helium 32 .

The esa has an Earth-based Luna facility that will recreate the Moon’s surface here on planet Earth in Cologne, Germany. This is a much-needed facility to test tools and an astronaut training ground. There will be 1,000 m2 of simulated Lunar soil which will be created here on Earth in Europe with a basaltic material made up of silicates, a common feature in planetary bodies with volcanism. See Bricks from Lunar Dust.

With the 50th anniversary of the US Moon landing coming up on July 20, 2019 there is an air of excitement by we ‘space enthusiasts’ as well as NASA and esa scientists and astronauts.

More articles on this topic

1 NASA Orion electronics: Celestial “hunter” seeking our origin

2 Are we ready for fusion reactors in space?

4 comments on “Enabling a return to the Moon with the European Space Agency (esa)

  1. eafpres
    November 15, 2018

    It’s disappointing to me that we chose a scaled up Apollo vehicle for this. It’s also astonishing we need new large facilities to investigate things we were supposed to have learned and paid for with Apollo. Finally the idea that ESA won this is an indictment of the process and our management and government issues.

  2. Steve Taranovich
    November 16, 2018

    @eafpres 1—It's unfortunate that we did not push for continued Moon exploration. We could have done so much more. Here is the problem:

    I was asked by a university student why SpaceX can land their boosters on a floating barge and re-use them and NASA cannot. My answer was as follows, “It's simple—SpaceX is funded by a multi-billionaire and NASA is funded by the US Congress. I have personally witnessed the 'shoe-string' budget that NASA has and the tiny increases they get in budget raises. However, what I can say from my extensive experience at various NASA locations–meeting the people there—is that human life/Astronaut safety comes first, second, and third in NASA prorities”

    Re-using a 'tried and true' design and modifying it is a solid technique, especially when lives are at stake. That said, NASA has told me that they are now a Space Port: SpaceX is there and Blue Origin is setting up shop (Jeff Bezos at Amazon wants to send supplies to the Space Station, the Moon, and Mars). NASA has the experience and consults with these and future endeavors at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

    We will see new spacecraft designs coming up. As a matter of fact, an astronaut that I know, Victor Glover, will pilot the SpaceX Crew Dragon ship soon. It looks similar to Apollo as well, but will be evolving over time https://www.planetanalog.com/author.asp?section_id=3065&doc_id=564945 

     

    Here is what NASA says about stopping the Apollo Program:

    The Apollo Moon program was stopped by the U.S. Congress after the Apollo 17 mission.  NASA's total budget was cut and the remaining program of human flights was redirected toward the less expensive Apollo-Soyus joint flight with the USSR, the three Skylab missions (the first space station), and eventually the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.  For information on the current NASA plans for human flights to the Moon, see the NASA Vision webpage (http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/vision/index.html).

  3. eafpres
    November 22, 2018

    Hi Steve–Happy Thanksgiving!

    I agree with and undertand all your points. The US accumulated more knowledge of all facets of space exploration than anyone ever had, and has lost some of it by attrition.  Hopefully we get back to a better place eventually.  I for one hope both the SLS and Musk's BFR get finished and launch missions to Mars.  I really hope to live long enough to see humans on Mars.  

  4. Steve Taranovich
    November 22, 2018

    I think we will both see the US get back to space exploration. Thanks for your insights Blaine

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