NASA Signs Agreement for European-Provided Orion Service Module

NASA has signed an agreement for the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide a service module for the Orion spacecraft's Exploration Mission-1 in 2017. The announcement was made on Jan. 16 during a news briefing at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. When Orion blasts off atop a Space Launch System rocket in 2017, attached will be the ESA-provided service module -- the powerhouse that fuels and propels the Orion spacecraft. Exploration Mission-1 in 2017 will be the first mission to incorporate both the Orion vehicle and NASA's new Space Launch System. It will follow the upcoming Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014, in which an uncrewed Orion will launch atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket and fly to an altitude of 3,600 miles above Earth's surface, farther than a human spacecraft has gone in 40 years.

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