Thursday, January 17, 2013

ESA Joins NASA Space Launch System Test Flight

A NASA computer animation of a Space Launch System mission.

The January 16 joint NASA-ESA press conference.

NASA and the European Space Agency held a joint press conference January 16 to discuss their Space Launch System partnership.

ESA will build the service module for the first uncrewed SLS test flight, scheduled for late 2017.

Click here for the NASA press release.

The service module will be based upon ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle. ESA announced last April that they would fly only two more ATVs before ending that program.

According to, this deal may result in one ESA astronaut flying on the crewed SLS test flight, scheduled for 2021.

The Orion crew capsule is scheduled for an uncrewed test flight in 2014 atop a Boeing Delta IV. Aviation Week reported on January 9 that the capsule is 4,000 pounds too heavy to survive re-entry with its current parachute system.

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