Orion is NASA’s next spacecraft to send humans into space. It is designed to send astronauts farther into space than ever before, beyond the Moon to asteroids and even Mars.
ESA has designed and is overseeing the development of Orion’s service module, the part of the spacecraft that supplies air, electricity and propulsion. Much like a train engine pulls passenger carriages and supplies power, the European Service Module will take the Orion capsule to its destination and back.
The Orion spacecraft is built by NASA with ESA providing the service module. The arrangement stems from the international partnership for the International Space Station. NASA’s decision to cooperate with ESA on a critical element for the mission is a strong sign of trust and confidence in ESA’s capabilities.
More than 20 companies around Europe are now building the European Service Module as NASA works on Orion and the Space Launch System.