From the Earth to the Moon and on to Mars – ESA and NASA take decisions and plan for the future

Noordwijk, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — The next steps in exploring and using space for the benefit of European citizens were this week on the agenda at ESA’s Council meeting in ESA/ESTEC, the Netherlands on 14 and 15 June. The possibility of the first-ever European astronaut to set foot on the Moon, a telecommunication satellite for lunar exploration and a mission to return precious rock samples from Mars were all discussed.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson joined the meeting with ESA Member States in a decisive gesture to advocate for Europe’s strong role in multiple projects which reinforce the enduring partnership between the two leading space agencies.

“From understanding our changing planet to exploring Mars, I hugely value the cooperation we have with NASA” says ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher.  “By contributing key European hardware and services to exciting programmes such as Artemis and Mars Sample Return, we are building Europe’s autonomy while also being a reliable partner.”

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Thales Alenia Space Providing Key Technologies to Sustain Life Inside Orion Capsule

European Service Module No. 4. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)
  • Orion’s European Service Module 4 successfully completed integration activities in Thales Alenia Space’s Turin plant
  • Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the primary and the secondary structure, and thermo-mechanical systems of ESA’s European Service Modules (ESM)

TURIN, Italy, 31th May 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has successfully completed the activities related to the final integration of the critical systems of Orion’s European Service Module 4. The module is now on its way to Airbus Defence and Space’s clean rooms in Bremen, Germany. There, it will complete the integration and carry out final tests, supported by Thales Alenia Space engineers on-site.

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Thales Alenia Space Wins Study Contract to Develop Payload to Extract Oxygen on the Moon

Lunar lander with in-situ resource utilization system to extract oxygen from regolith. (Credit: Redwire Space Europe)

Selected by the European Space Agency, Thales Alenia Space leads study to develop a demonstration payload to extract oxygen from Moon rock

BRISTOL, UK, February 23, 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has signed a study contract with the European Space Agency worth one million euros for a payload concept to extract oxygen from Moon rock.

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NASA Statement on Meeting with US Ambassador to Poland

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, right, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski are seen during a meeting Feb. 4, 2022, at NASA Headquarters in Washington during which the two discussed a variety of topics related to NASA’s mission that are of importance to both the U.S. and Poland. (Credits: NASA/Justin Weiss)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski’s visit Friday, Feb. 4, to NASA Headquarters in Washington:

“It was a pleasure to welcome U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski to NASA last week.

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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Europe Delivers Module for First Astronaut Mission to the Moon

An Antonov aircraft sent the second European Service Module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft across the Atlantic in a custom-built container from Bremen, Germany, on 13 October 2021. (Credit: ESA–A. Conigli)

BREMEN (ESA PR) — The second European Service Module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft is on its way to USA. It is the last stopover on Earth before this made-in-Europe powerhouse takes the first astronauts around the Moon on the Artemis II mission.

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Next Generation of Orion Spacecraft in Production for Future Artemis Missions

Now complete, the crew module pressure vessel for Artemis III will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the team will start integrating the spacecraft’s systems and subsystems. Photo taken August 27, 2021. (Credits: NASA/Eric Bordelon)

NEW ORLEANS (NASA PR) — Over the next decade, NASA’s Orion spacecraft will carry astronauts during Artemis missions to the Moon to help prepare for human missions to Mars. Work on the spacecraft for Artemis I is nearly complete, Artemis II is well underway, and NASA is making progress on vehicles for the missions beyond.

The agency recently completed welding on the Artemis III Orion pressure vessel, the underlying frame of the air-tight capsule for astronauts called the crew module. This structure is the first major piece of hardware in Orion’s production phase with lead contractor Lockheed Martin.

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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.
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Three More Service Modules for Artemis to be Built in Europe

Artist’s impression of Orion over Earth. (Credit: NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA signed a further contract with Airbus for the construction of three more European Service Modules for Orion, NASA’s spacecraft that will fly astronauts to the Moon and lunar Gateway as part of the Artemis programme.

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First European Service Module for Artemis Accepted and Handed Over to NASA

Orion spacecraft and European Service Module (Credit: Airbus)

LEIDEN, Netherlands (Airbus PR) — On 11 December the first European Service Module passed its Acceptance Review and was formally handed over to NASA, the hardware is now officially NASA property. This marks the end of 9 years of designing, building and putting all the pieces together to make the next-generation powerhouse that will propel Orion spacecraft to the Moon.

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NASA and DLR Strength­en Co­op­er­a­tion

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — On 17 December 2020, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) extended their framework agreement on bilateral cooperation for a further ten years.

The agreement was signed by NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, Professor Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, and Member of the DLR Executive Board and Head of the DLR Space Administration, Walther Pelzer, who met via video conference to mark the occasion.

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Gateway MoU and Artemis Accords – FAQs

Lunar Gateway (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA Director General Jan Wörner and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to take Europe to the Moon.

The historic agreement will see ESA Member States contribute a number of essential elements to the first human outpost in lunar orbit, known as the Gateway.

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ESA Welcomes Announcement of Next Astronauts to the Moon

Artemis Gateway orbiting the moon. (Credit: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Yesterday NASA announced the names of the 18 astronauts that will support the Artemis Programme and may be assigned to lunar missions. 

The Artemis team is a group of astronauts that will help pave the way for the next lunar missions including sending the first woman and next man to walk on the Moon in 2024.

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Orion is ‘Fairing’ Well and Moving Ahead Toward Artemis I

The Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis I mission is in view inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay on Oct. 28. Attached below Orion are the crew module adapter and the European Service Module with spacecraft adapter jettison fairings installed. (Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

By Tiffany Fairley
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

Three spacecraft adapter jettison fairing panels have now been fitted onto Orion’s European Service Module as production accelerates inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s  Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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NASA, European Space Agency Formalize Artemis Gateway Partnership

Artemis Gateway orbiting the moon. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and ESA (European Space Agency)  have finalized an agreement to collaborate on the Artemis Gateway. This agreement is an important element in a broad effort by the United States to engage international partners in sustainable lunar exploration and to demonstrate technologies necessary for a future human mission to Mars. The agreement, signed Tuesday, marks NASA’s first formal commitment to launch international crew members to the lunar vicinity as part of NASA’s Artemis missions.

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