Now that the European Space Agency (ESA) is charged with building the new service module for NASA’s Orion manned spacecraft (full story here), its solar arrays are now expected to use the X-configuration that the ATV vessel uses (ESA’s ATV is being used as the basis of the service module) rather that the previously planned round/circular ones.


Out with the old and in with the new:  The original Lockheed Martin design configuration (top) with its definitive round/circular solar arrays has now been replaced by a service module based on ATV-heritage hardware which will thus use rectagular solar arrays in an X-shape configuration (bottom).  Images courtesy: Lockheed Martin and ESA respectively.