The Orion ESM team is a truly international one. This became very clear during the Orion ESM programme day that took place on 29 April at Airbus DS in Bremen. Participants from Les Mureaux, Lampoldshausen and Bremen, but also from the US and even a surprise guest from far away attended.


It was on invitation of Oliver Juckenhöfel, Head of the Orion ESM programme that nearly 170 team members came to the event to exchange and work together about the current status of the programme, but also to work on quality and mindset as well asteambuilding workshops.

Oliver started and gave an overview about the current status and challenges of the programme. Though the EM1 flight module structure just arrived at Bremen - delivered by Thales Alenia Space Italy - there is no reason to lay back. Just the opposite, now full attention need to be on integration and test but also on the EM2, for which Airbus already started first procurement processes.

Tony Byers represented Orion system prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems. He thanked all team members for their effort and put focus on the transatlantic cooperation in exploration which is to the benefit of all partners. He then presented a special video message from Rick Ambrose, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

A fascinating insight into the ESM was given by Alex Grünthaler and Henning Schönbeck. They provided a real "fly through" the European Service Module based on the module's CATIA data. This was a great experience for the audience as they could "travel" to the smallest subsystems in quite a realistic way. But -as many participants admitted - it also made clear what is still missing to deliver the Service Module on time beginning of next year. One of the greater challenges is the propulsion sub system, so it came to no surprise that Oliver and Mark Kelly - in charge of industrialization within the programme - gave a special message to that subject.


Several workshops where on the afternoon agenda during which all participants discussed several topics with the objective to improve team work, processes and workflow but also team spirit and understanding better the working area of the colleagues.

Not all team members could attend, for instance Clément Vynckier, Technical Authority Structure and MDPS. But we wouldn't be a high tech company if we wouldn't find a solution for this. So a video transmission via smartphone was organized and he could say some greetings to the audience and expressed his relief, knowing that the FM1 structure was now delivered to Bremen.

It was then Bart Reijnen, Head of In-Orbit Servicing T& Exploration at Airbus DS who gave finally some motivating words to the whole audience. The programme's challenges, especially the schedule are tough, no doubt, but he calls everyone to believe in the joint success. "You are truly making history", he said to the audience, "as a European programme we will bring humans for the first time ever beyond low Earth orbit."

A joint visit to the EM1 flight structure was on the agenda at the end of the day. Many colleagues took the opportunity to have a look to what they only knew on paper and animations before.

After a hard day's work the participants then went downtown to celebrate this milestone, knowing that it is only a small step on the journey to the moon and maybe beyond.