Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle

MPCV or Orion is a spacecraft developed by NASA for future manned missions to destinations beyond low Earth orbits such as a lunar orbit, near-Earth objects, and Mars. It comprises a service module – the ESM – that will provide essential support functions to the crew module and its four astronauts. These include propulsion and attitude control, power generation and control, thermal control, as well as consumable resources (water, oxygen and nitrogen).

The ESM is being funded by the European Space Agency and developed under the responsibility of Airbus DS GmbH in Bremen. It represents the in-kind contribution made by Europe to cover its share of utilization of the International Space Station.

Airbus Defence & Space selected Antwerp Space to design, industrialize and manufacture the major part of the EGSE consisting of a series of power-related Special Check-Out Equipment (SCOE) based on the reference system developed by Airbus Defence & Space.

Antwerp Space supplied the electrical ground facility (EGF) in a total of three different configurations which are to be used for assembly, integration and verification (AIV) purposes in various industrial facilities across Europe (Airbus DS Bremen, Germany and Safran Launchers - Les Mureaux, France) and the Integration Test Laboratory (ITL) of Lockhead Martin in Denver.

Our involvement

One of Orion's most important systems is the avionics system, often described as the "brains" of the spacecraft or Onboard Data Network (ODN). The avionics system consists of a wide variety of standard and complex electronics assembled into various independent systems, each responsible for performing specific critical functions.

Antwerp Space assembled and delivered 6 Core Unit Tester racks to the different MPCV-ESM avionics suppliers in Europe to test the real time on-board network (ODN). This deterministic high performance Ethernet network is based on TTEthernet or TTE (the ODN) and interconnects the different subsystem modules of MPCV-ESM e.g. the PCDU, SADE, TCU. Using an identical test bench is a huge benefit for test and integration activities. The Core Unit tester is an industrialised copy of the reference ODN test platform available at the MPCV-ESM integration facilities.