When the Orion spacecraft performs its test flight in 2021, team members from Airbus Defence and Space will be among those cheering the loudest.

Orion will be used by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to send humans into space, with this spacecraft designed to transport astronauts further than ever before as part of its Artemis programme – which will land the first woman (and next man) on the Moon.

Airbus Defence and Space, on behalf of the European Space Agency, is responsible for the European Service Module (ESM), providing Orion’s propulsion, power, water, oxygen and nitrogen, while also keeping the spacecraft at the right temperature and on the correct flightpath. Three European Service Modules are contracted to be developed and delivered by Airbus, which together with the Crew Module, make up  the Orion spacecraft for travels to the Moon and beyond.


Opening new horizons with Orion

As the countdown continues to next year’s first non-crewed test flight – to be followed with NASA’s historic crewed mission to the Moon by 2024 – Airbus Defence and Space employees such as Gabriela Anguiano Molina, a German-based Propulsion Sub-Systems and Assembly Integration Test Quality Engineer, are eager to see the fruits of their labour.

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve had the desire to find the ‘whys’ of the world to try to make sense of it all,” she explained. “I always found myself contemplating these questions while star gazing, as if the answers were hidden between the stars. From there on, I have spent my life pursuing the path which can enable me to further my curiosity and passion for space exploration.”

“…I’ve had the desire to find the ‘whys’ of the world…”

Gabriela Anguiano Molina, Airbus Defence and Space quality engineer

Anguiano Molina added: “The Orion programme has become this enabler, as it brought me the opportunity of forming part of the dream to search for humanity’s limits and continue challenging them even further.”


Taking crews into space…and returning them safely

“I’m curious to see whether there is other life in the universe.”

Anna Engelien, quality engineer at Airbus Defence and Space


Looking beyond the ESM’s human flight aspect, Anna Engelien, a quality engineer in assembly integration testing, hopes for potential discoveries that are a bit more alien. “I am curious to see whether there is other life in the universe. With Artemis, we will explore the Moon and other planets. It would be great to experience this!”


Watch the video with Airbus Defence and Space employees, who share their thoughts on the European Service Module and future space exploration with Orion:


The Voices of Orion ESM