“We've spent a lot of time and effort getting the mass down on this system,” he says. “That's one example of a place where mass can easily grow again. We didn't have the flex arrays there because they were cute. [They were] there for loads, and loads translate into mass.”
Still NASA sees the European service module as a significant break with the past, allowing an international partner into the transportation “critical path” that was denied them under NASA's old Constellation program.
“For us it's kind of a pathfinder for engagement at that level, so the other partners looking around can say 'OK, we're having this nice dialogue about goals and objectives, but what does that really mean in terms of us being willing to play,'” says Greg Williams, deputy associate administrator for policy and plans in NASA's human-exploration directorate. “Here we've shown that we've found [a way] for an international partner to come in and provide a piece of hardware.”
While conceding that he'd like the workshare that will go to Europe instead, Crocker agrees that in the long term the combined approach should benefit all concerned.
“We're fully supportive of this,” he says. Bringing Europe in helps make it more affordable for all of us.”