Airbus wins contract for US space capsule Orion

Airbus Group will develop and build a service module for the future American human space capsule, Orion, marking the first time a European firm will provide system-critical elements for a US space project, it said on Monday. -- PHOTO: AFP
Airbus Group will develop and build a service module for the future American human space capsule, Orion, marking the first time a European firm will provide system-critical elements for a US space project, it said on Monday. -- PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Airbus Group will develop and build a service module for the future American human space capsule, Orion, marking the first time a European firm will provide system-critical elements for a U.S. space project, it said on Monday.

Europe's largest aerospace group said the contract, signed with the European Space Agency, was worth around 390 million euros (S$633 million).

The contract comes days after European scientists celebrated landing a probe on the surface of a comet for the first time.

NASA intends to use Orion to fly astronauts to an asteroid that has been robotically relocated into a high orbit around the moon. Eventually, the U.S. space agency wants to fly a four-member crew to Mars.

The design of the service module for Orion is based on the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) developed and built by Airbus as a supply craft for the International Space Station.