From Bremen to the Moon

Orion at the Kennedy Space Center (Credit: NASA/Radislav Sinyak)
  • The first European Service Module (ESM) for the US Orion space capsule will be called ESM-1 “Bremen”. This suggestion comes from the German Space Agency at DLR because the “heart” of the Orion space capsule was largely built in the German Hanseatic city.
  • ESM-1 “Bremen” is currently being prepared at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its flight as part of the Orion spacecraft in late autumn 2021. Five more modules are to be built in Bremen. The second ESM is supposed to bring astronauts from the USA and Canada back to the moon.

Technology from Bremen brings the USA back to the moon

In November 2021, the USA intends to send its first, initially unmanned Orion spacecraft into orbit around our satellite in preparation for future astronautical missions. It is powered and powered by German technology and is set on course towards the moon. “We are very pleased that the European Service Modules (ESM), which will bring the USA back to the moon, are primarily being built in Bremen. That is why we have worked hard for the first module to bear the name of the German Hanseatic city -1 ‘Bremen’ brings the first Orion capsule into a lunar orbit and back to earth “, emphasizes Dr. Walther Pelzer, DLR Board Member and Head of the German Space Agency at DLR.

Orion at the Kennedy Space Center (Credit: NASA/Radislav Sinyak)

Bremen – a space location with a long tradition

“Bremen is a very important location with a long tradition for space travel in Germany, Europe and around the world. Essential components of various international space missions come from the Hanseatic city, for example the Columbus module for the International Space Station ISS or the ESM- Modules for the Orion capsule. We are therefore very pleased that the first ESM-1 module bears the name of our city, “says Bremen’s Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte. 

Kristina Vogt, Senator for Economics, Labor and Europe, adds: “Bremen not only has the key to the world, but also to the moon. We are proud of the achievement of the Bremen aerospace industry and are pleased about the recognition in the first Orion mission. The mission is proof that how good the international space travel network is in Germany and especially in Bremen. This is important in order to continue developing innovations in the future and in this way to keep jobs in Bremen. Hence my thanks to the people of Bremen who have contributed to this.”

Orion’s way to the moon (Credit: DLR)

ESM – the heart of the Orion space capsule

For their first trip, Orion and the ESM drive and supply unit are currently being put through their paces at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As part of its Artemis program, NASA has so far ordered six such ESMs from ESA, for which work is being carried out in a total of ten European countries. The final assembly takes place in Bremen, at Airbus, where the industrial program management is also located. The ESM are the heart of all Orion spaceships and sit below the crew capsule. 

Its main engine will in future bring astronauts to the moon again – including, for the first time, three Europeans to the planned international lunar space station Lunar Gateway – and will provide the power for their flight via four solar sails. It also regulates the climate and temperature in the spaceship and stores fuel as well as vital oxygen and water supplies for the crew. The Orion spaceship and thus also the ESM are considered to be a central milestone for future astronautical missions to the moon, and maybe one day to Mars. Another ESM is currently being built in Bremen for a second lunar mission, which will involve a crew on board for the first time.