Testing of the Propulsion Qualification Module (PQM) for NASA’s Orion spacecraft resumed at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico in mid-October. The test team at White Sands conducted two hot-fire tests critical to shipping the first European Service Module (ESM) from its Bremen, Germany, production site to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida some time next week.
The European Space Agency (ESA) chose the two tests to help verify the performance of the propulsion elements of the ESM, in particular active pressure regulation. Results of the tests were good, removing that constraint to ESM shipment.
The PQM, a “battleship” version of the ESM propulsion subsystem, will continue through dozens of tests across two test campaigns now and in the Spring next year.
Hot-fires resume with critical tests to ship ESM
After a year’s downtime, PQM testing resumed with a five-second firing of the test module’s Orbital Maneuvering System engine (OMS-E) on October 13. Three days later, the OMS-E engine was fired again for twenty seconds, completing the two tests necessary to clear the first flight ESM, Flight Model-1 (FM-1), for an overseas flight from prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space’s production facility in Bremen to KSC.