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.