Cobham has announced it has recently been awarded contracts by Lockheed Martin Space to supply a suite of space-rated life support and propulsion components for NASA’s Orion deep space exploration spacecraft.

The components will fly on the Exploration Mission-2 crew module, the first flight of Orion with astronauts onboard.  Components for the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) include regulators, positive pressure relief valves, check and relief valves, pyrotechnic valves, and oxygen service valves used to maintain a life sustaining environment for the astronauts.

The propulsion components include pyrotechnic valves that isolate and release helium used to pressurise the Reaction Control System and Crew Module Uprighting System.  The service valves are used to fill the propellant and pressurant tanks that are also part of these systems.

According to the firm:

“Cobham has a long heritage as the world leader in space life support systems starting from the design of John Glenn’s breathing regulator used in Project Mercury. Since then, every NASA astronaut has breathed using Cobham life support equipment.”

“Supporting the Orion program builds on our pedigree to develop technology for future missions that will extend the reach of humanity into deep space,” said Eric Stellrecht, Product Director, Space, at Cobham Mission Systems.

In addition to life support products, Cobham also offers satellite electric propulsion products including latching valves, mechanical regulators, proportional flow valves, composite tanks, and complete feed systems.

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(Chris H) Can I copy my post on the Galileo debacle to here as it seems relevant? “Interesting exchange during PMQs yesterday when the PM assured an MP that the UK were actively looking for a launch site in the UK for future satellite work (in this case possibly Cornwall). Not totally unconnected to Galileo given this news today of what the UK Government has been doing ‘below the radar’ recently: It seems the PM is facing down the EU over Galileo: Demanding £1 Bn back Denying the EU further UK Intelligence and Security assistance Stating its a breach… Read more »


Ascension Island would be the perfect ‘UK’ future launch site. Close to the equator so maximum launch assist from the earths rotation and nothing around it for thousands of miles in case the launch is aborted.


It also has a history of being associated with space programs as it was one of the designated abort runways for the shuttle program.

Daniele Mandelli

Nasa and a node for GPS already there too, as well as GCHQ, C and W, and the BBC.

One secure comms and sigint hub for US and UK employees only I believe.


Let’s get Space X to launch a few GNSS in the US for us and then fund them to build up the infra to be able to manufacture and launch from Ascension as well (or we build it under license from them). Perfect launch location though the cost of getting material there may negate some of the free assist from being pretty much at the equator. If not there then Cornwall or similar.

David E Flandry

Lots of infrastructure would have to be built, much shipped in by sea. Location for equatorial launch to the east is good though.


I did a six month tour of Ascension Island here’s a happy snap from the top of green mountain look towards Georgetown.

Andy G

What a jewel. Imagine what China would do with this island, thats what we should be doing.


Launching orbital boosters from any of the British isles is a really silly idea. Don’t forget what a very big and unstable bang rocket boosters actually are and how packed full of people the British Isles are.


The Brexit department released a 6 page pdf today on the Galileo issue. Basically telling the EU we want to remain part of it, being a partner remains our number one objective. It’s a good read, for some reason I always get moderated for posting links. The EU commission are bang out of order in the way they are handling this issue, but the foreign secretary has raised this with France, and most other EU countries are on our side over this. We will remain part of the project, too much money to be lost by both sides, and the… Read more »


(Chris H) SoleSurvivor – I am slightly worried as once again I find I am in total agreement with you Sir! The UK has some major aces up its sleeve in this unnecessary game the EU insist on playing over Brexit. But the biggest is the Security issue. Without us they have zero access to 5 eyes. That alone is a killer argument let alone the GCHQ and MI5 / 6 capabilities that make the other EU countries look like amateurs. But then they have got used to living off our capabilities and money which may soon disappear if they… Read more »


Haha cheers Chris I think when it comes to Brexit, there is broad agreement between the EU commission and the governments across Europe that we will not get everything we want, as in cherry picking the good parts, but that is about trade, tariffs, finance and law etc, certainly not defence and security. And when it comes to European defence this project when up and running will become a major part of that. And you’re right we do hold some ace cards in this respect and I think the most important part of this is that European defence ministers, military… Read more »

Barry White

Lets have it here in the UK
Cornwall would be ideal
As its only a stones throw from Goonhilly and also give Cornwall some work as it has the most to lose when we leave th EU


I would rather it be on the UK mainland too as it would make it possible to go and see the launches.

Steve M

Whilst it would be cool to have on mainland UK it does make a whole lot of sense to go for Acension, mainly because of the before mentioned launch assist which allows for more payload mass (more speed assist = less fuel needed to reach escape velocity = more mass left over for a greater payload). It’s one of the reasons why the USA have a good proportion of their launches from Kennedy and not somewhere further North.


(Chris H) Steve M – You need to remember we have leased part of the island to the Americans who operate it as ‘Wideawake’ and as others have noted NASA and other US interests use it and as always happens they tend to take over the whole place. So I am not sure having some leading edge technology and security systems next to ‘prying eyes’ is a good idea. Whether we like it or not the Americans may be ‘allies’ but they are not our friends and are after a foreign power with competing interests. We could of course ask… Read more »