Airbus plays a significant role in the major successes associated with European orbital systems, as customers and partners worldwide rely on our experience and innovative spirit.


Today, Airbus works on a number of exciting space projects, including Orion ESM, the International Space Station’s Columbus module, Bartolomeo and ATV. As a global competence centre for all human spaceflight-related activities, our additional competences include astronaut training, life support systems for Earth and space, space robotics, space exploration programmes and, last but not least, sounding rockets for microgravity experiments.


International Space Station (ISS)

The International Space Station (ISS) is one of the most ambitious scientific and technical projects ever undertaken in human spaceflight. It is an unprecedented international endeavour, with 10 European countries joining the United States, Japan, Canada and Russia.

Airbus is leading the European contribution to this project and is part of ESA's industrial operator team for the operation and utilisation of the European elements of the ISS, in particular the Columbus laboratory.



The Columbus laboratory has been in orbit since February 2008. With its own life support system, it provides a unique environment and multipurpose research opportunities in microgravity for material science, medicine, pharmaceuticals, human physiology, biology, Earth observation, fluid physics and astronomy.

Orion crewed space capsule with European Service Module Copyright : Airbus DS GmbH 2017

Airbus builds the Orion European Service Module

Orion, NASA’s next-generation spaceship, consist of two main parts: The Crew Module, which is the habitat for up to four astronauts and their cargo, and the Service Module, which both propels and manoeuvres the spacecraft, provides essential life support elements such as water and oxygen, and regulates thermal control. Under a European Space Agency (ESA) contract, Airbus in Bremen, Germany, is responsible for building the Orion European Service Module (ESM).


Your Payload in Space

The commercial use of the ISS is increasing, leading to new and low-cost opportunities to access to space. Whatever the mission in low Earth orbit, Airbus offers affordable and “all-in-one” mission services on-board the International Space Station by hosting either external payloads or experiments inside the ISS, as well as other microgravity options.


Future space stations

When the International Space Station (ISS) comes to the end of its life time at the end of this decade, partners Airbus aims to have its successor up and running: Starlab, the next generation Space Station designed to ensure a continued human presence in low-Earth orbit and a seamless transition for microgravity science and research from the ISS into the new commercial space station era.



The Bartolomeo platform, attached to the European Columbus Module of the International Space Station (ISS), is the station’s newest payload hosting platform. Starting from payload sizes as small as 3U, Airbus hosts payloads on Bartolomeo as an all-in-one mission service: this includes technical support in preparing the payload, launch and installation, operations and data transfer as well as an optional return to Earth.

Space harpoon RemoveDEBRIS

Remove Debris

According to current estimates, there are more than 40,000 objects – equivalent to some 7,600 tonnes – of space junk floating in Earth orbit, posing significant collision threats to satellites and space stations. The RemoveDEBRIS project is aimed at performing key active debris removal (ADR) technology tests in search of the best ways to clean up space.


Sounding rockets

End-to-end service with key benefits


Through the TEXUS/MAXUS Sounding Rocket Programme, Airbus offers an end-to-end service to scientists and experimenters – a unique opportunity to perform technological experiments and investigations under microgravity conditions with key benefits:


  • Late access for sample installation is possible until approximately one hour prior to lift-off.
  • Real-time transmission of experiment data and video images to the ground
  • Telecommand Uplink capabilities for the scientists/experimenters to efficiently control the experiments/payload during the flight phase.
  • Short time samples delivery: the Recovery System ensures a safe retrieval of the payload and scientific samples about two hours after the flight.