Three years from now, when NASA’s Orion spacecraft heads for the moon, technology made in northern Germany will help it get there.
Aerospace giant Airbus is currently constructing the European Service Module (ESM), a central part of the spacecraft’s propulsion system, in the city of Bremen. It’s the first time NASA has had a critical system component for a space mission developed outside the United States.
“The Americans have recognized that it makes no technological or financial sense to realize major projects like this alone,” the space travel program director of the German Aersospace Center (DLR), René Kleessen, told Bremen’s state economic promotion agency WFB.
Bremen is one of the hubs of Germany’s aerospace industry, and the ESM is by no means the only major project going on there. By the end of this decade, Airbus hopes to land the first large European space vehicle, The European Large Logistic Lander (EL3) on the moon’s surface. It has been compared to a “lunar delivery van” for a future space station on the moon.