Going back to the moon


NASA is building a new space vehicle that will send astronauts to the moon by 2025 at the latest. A key piece for the service module of this spacecraft, called Orion, is being manufactured by a Belgian company.

Belgium's largest aerospace manufacturer, Sonaca, is responsible for building one of the largest pieces of the service module for the Orion capsule for NASA's Artemis programme. A mission that should enable astronauts to set foot on lunar soil once more, fifty years after Neil Armstrong.

More precisely, the Charleroi-based company is building an aluminium circular bulkhead, 4 metres in diameter, for the tanks (tank bulkhead). This key piece will allow load transfers between the capsule containing the passengers and the docking module. As explained by Pedro Romero Fernandez, General Manager for Space Activities at Sonaca, "this part was quite tricky to produce, because we had to reconcile the difficulty of machining a large item with the very high precision which is usually required for much smaller parts."

So, a snippet of Belgian expertise will be heading for the moon in the near future.