The European Space Agency (ESA) has joined forces with Airbus to build a new lunar module that will transport astronauts to the Moon. The capsule will be used by NASA for its upcoming mission to the Moon, which will be part of its new Artemis program.

NASA's human mission to the Moon is scheduled to take place in 2024. It will mark the first time that astronauts will explore the lunar surface ever since NASA's Apollo 17 mission, which took place over 50 years ago.

Orion
Artist's impression of Orion over the Moon. Orion is NASA’s next spacecraft to send humans into space. It is designed to send astronauts further into space than ever before, beyond the Moon to asteroids and even Mars. When they return to Earth, the astronauts will enter our atmosphere at speeds over 32 000 km/h but the capsule will protect them and ensure a bumpy but safe landing. NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab

ESA's European Service Module

NASA's new set of space missions, including the upcoming lunar expedition, will be carried out as part of its Artemis program. To ensure the success of the program, NASA has enlisted the help of its partners to handle various aspects of the mission. One of the agencies working with NASA for the program is the ESA. Recently, the space agency signed a contract with European aerospace firm Airbus to develop modules for the Moon. Dubbed as the European Service Module, this capsule will serve as the landing vehicle to get astronauts to the Moon.

According to the ESA, developing the module for NASA shows that the agency is a capable contributor to the Artemis program. "By entering into this agreement, we are again demonstrating that Europe is a strong and reliable partner in Artemis," David Parker, the director of ESA's Human and Robotic Exploration, said in a statement. "The European Service Module represents a crucial contribution to this, allowing scientific research, development of key technologies and international cooperation – inspiring missions that expand humankind's presence beyond Low Earth Orbit.

xEMU Suit
NASA's new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit NASA

Building The New Lunar Module

The ESA will closely work with Airbus for the development of the European Service Module, which will be composed of more than 20,000 different parts. This capsule will come with its own solar panels, life-support systems, fuel tanks, engines and various electrical components to ensure that the astronauts will have a safe and comfortable trip to the Moon. Once completed, the European Service Module will be mounted on NASA's Orion spacecraft. For Airbus, the development of the module demonstrates the company's capabilities in the field of aerospace travel.

"Our know-how and expertise will enable us to continue to facilitate future Moon missions through international partnerships," the company's head of Space Exploration Andreas Hammer stated.