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Orion ESM Delivery

Orion ESM Delivery

The first European Service Module (ESM) has been delivered to America, taking this Airbus-built unit one step closer to launch as part of the U.S. Orion crew exploration vehicle.

The first flight module for Orion ESM is ready for shipment from Germany to the U.S. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

After a send-off ceremony on 2 November in Bremen, Germany (where the ESM underwent initial assembly at the Airbus Defence and Space facility), its 6 November arrival at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center is celebrated today – November 16 – at the space center in Florida. This event is open to the media and broadcast live on NASA Television, recognizing another important milestone in the Orion mission’s preparation process. 

Orion will send astronauts further into space than ever before, and the ESM is Europe’s contribution to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration programme – providing propulsion, power, water, oxygen and nitrogen for Orion as well as keeping the spacecraft on course and at the right temperature. Airbus is responsible to the European Space Agency (ESA) for the service module’s development and construction.


Orion ESM - Mission through deep space


Orion is NASA’s next spacecraft to send humans into space. It is designed to send astronauts further into space than ever before, beyond the Moon to asteroids and even Mars. The European Service Module (ESM) is Europe’s contribution to the Orion spacecraft. It provides propulsion, power, water, oxygen and nitrogen as well as keeping the spacecraft at the right temperature and on course. Read less Read more

Readying Orion for its first mission, destination: Moon

After completing its trans-Atlantic voyage aboard a cargo jetliner on 6 November, the European Service Module was moved to the Kennedy Space Center’s Operations & Checkout building – where it will be fitted to the Crew Module Adapter (CMA) to form the Orion Service Module. 

When this step is accomplished (which includes the welding of all fluid and gas pipes and the connection of electrical wiring), the Orion Service Module will be mated with the Orion Crew Module. The completely integrated spacecraft is to be transferred from Florida to NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio for a test campaign lasting 60 days inside the world’s largest vacuum chamber, subjecting it to the intense conditions encountered during launch. 

The spacecraft will then return to the Kennedy Space Center for integration with the launch vehicle – NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket – and undergo tests and preparations for Orion’s maiden mission, a lunar fly-by to be performed without astronauts.

Bremen, Germany is where Orion service modules take shape

Orion ESM is assembled and tested at Airbus in Bremen, as Airbus serves as the prime contractor to develop and build the ESMs for NASA’s mission.

The European Service Modules for Orion are assembled and tested at the Airbus Defence and Space operation in Bremen. Work currently is underway on the no. 2 European Service Module, with its structure complete and cabling being installed in preparation for Orion’s second flight, called Exploration Mission-2 – the initial crewed mission, to be launched as early as 2021 for a trip around the Moon. 

For the Orion programme, NASA is using the ESM as the first-ever European-built critical element in powering an American spacecraft, relying on Europe’s years of expertise with Airbus-built Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) – which carried supplies to the International Space Station. 

Airbus was chosen in November 2014 by the European Space Agency as the prime contractor to develop and build the ESMs for Orion. Assembly of ESM 1 began in May 2016, and Airbus was contracted in February 2017 to build the second ESM. 


Visit the Orion blog! 

Another big step for human spaceflight: Airbus gives a big send-off for the Orion ESM Flight Module 1. Relive the event ceremony:

Videos Gallery

Logbook. We build Orion      
Orion ESM - engines      
Orion ESM - sun energy      
Orion ESM - heat management      
Orion ESM - supplier of water and oxygen      
Orion ESM - Mission through deep space      
Orion European Service Module for NASA's spacecraft      
Orion ESM - Mission through deep space      
Orion ESM built by Airbus Defence and Space - Trailer      
Orion ESM being moved into cleanroom in Bremen      
Orion ESM Solar Array Deployment Test      
Orion ESM - Service module for NASA's spacecraft Orion - Clip 2      

Photos & Infographics Gallery

Orion EMS Moonscenario Copyright NASA    
Orion ESM FM1 Delivery    
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