The first Orion projects will utilize a shuttle-era engine in its service setup. NASA, however, is demanding suggestions for a new engine for upcoming tasks that promise to bring the same interface requirement and performance. NASA published the first requests for any ideas on March 19.
The Orion Main Engine proposals must meet a deadline of June 11. The space agency hopes to choose a company and have it on a steadily fixed fee contract by November 1. The selected company would also have a period of performance until mid-2031.
The agreement NASA will realize will comprise the manufacturing of new engined for Orion’s European-developed service setup. That engine will be utilized for significant operations by the spaceship, such as reaching and leaving lunar orbit, and for some abort situations.
NASA’s Recent Plans Include New Proposals for the Orion Engine
Original Orion projects will utilize the OMS (the Orbital Maneuvering System) engines initially developed for the space shuttle project by Aerojet Rocketdyne. NASA predicts that the first five Artemis tasks will utilize those engines. Such a thing means that the upcoming engine will not be used before almost the mid-2020s.
The OMS, and overall Orion Propulsion arrangement, has brought a lot of criticism due to its restricted performance. That’s made the utilization of a close-rectilinear radiance orbit for lunar projects, rather than a moderate lunar orbit that would need a more significant change in speed to both enter and depart.
However, there are no orders to modify the engine’s performance. Or, that of the whole propulsion system in the Orion service setup, with this current agreement. The demand for suggestions details that the upcoming Orion Main Engine must be compatible with interfaces with the service setup and surface devices. The engine will also be constrained “within the existing [European Service Module] interface, functional requirements, and performance.”