Status update on European Service Module

Status update on European Service Module

While NASA decided to go back to the Moon, ESA and Airbus will be part of the journey by providing the European Service Module.

(Source: ESA)

By now you should have heard of the Artemis program. Artemis will be the name of the mission’s which will bring the next astronauts to the moon and back. Quite the good name, as in greek mythology Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo and as the first moon program was called Apollo, combined with the fact that back than it was an all male cast and now it will be female astronauts as well, naming it after Apollo’s twin sister sounds like a smart choice.

Going back to the moon is a big task and combines the effort of many companies across the globe to make it happen.


The European Service Module (ESM) or Orion Service Module (OSM), will be part of the Orion Spacecraft and deliver Energy, Water and oxygen to the manned spacecraft. It is build by the Airbus Defense and Space”” in Bremen, Germany. While the first modules have already been delivered to NASA, on the picture above we see the module which will be part of the Artemis II mission, the first manned test mission back to and into orbit of the moon.

The module will hold enough water and air to supply 4 astronauts for 20 days. Four tanks with up to 8000 liters of fuel as well as a cooling and heating system to keep Orion and its crew regulated besides the -70C and +90C temperature range of the journey.

The other components are:

Space Launch System

The rocket itself will be the NASA developed SLS (Space Launch System), a stunning 98m high, 8.4m wide rocket with 3 stages and the capability to bring 27 tons to the moon (Low Earth Orbit capacity of 95 tons). It will be manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and United Launch Alliance. At the time of writing this article we are still waiting to see a successful test (JS).

Orion Spacecraft

The Orion Spacecraft will be the transport vehicle for people to get to the moon and the Lunar Orbital platform Gateway (LOP-G).
With 3.3m height and 5 m wide it will be able to carry 4 people.


The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, will be a transfer station located in the orbit of the moon, to be precise in an orbit approximately 1500km above the north pole of the moon in the L2 Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit.

(Source: ESA)

The moon station (yes I just called it that (JS)) will be a joined project of NASA, ESA, JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).

In addition to being a transfer module it also should be a test for future Mars mission, which at least for human missions, would benefit from a transfer and refuelling from such a lunar gateway.

This news item was first published on “Space and Ham Radio News” a Newsletter published every Sunday on Patreon. If you want to be among the first to read please become a supporter