Airbus‘ defense and space business has built four titanium fuel tanks for the European Service Module of NASA‘s Orion spacecraft ahead of assembly and initial testing activities.
The company said Tuesday the tanks are the first completed hardware for Orion and have a total payload capacity of close to 9.9 tons.
Airbus will deliver the tanks to Italy for the assembly of the structural test model then to the U.S. for initial tests.
After the primary tests, the team will construct and test the engineering model at the company’s facility in Germany, which will also host the assembly of the actual ESM flight tanks in mid-2016.
The Exploration Mission 1 launches in 2018 will be the first to use the service module, Airbus noted.
Airbus is the prime contractor for Orion’s ESM.