Human space exploration is rapidly evolving toward long journeys and enabling life in deep-space has become the cutting-edge technology challenge. NASA's Artemis program is its brand new chapter: lunar exploration that will send humans farther into space than ever before.
We are going back to Moon to stay in a sustainable way, a challenge tackled by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), that is designing the entire lunar ecosystem, working on vehicles, orbital human infrastructures and surface solutions to enable to reach the Moon, living and exploiting resources to foster the new lunar economy.
Through its unique expertise in space infrastructures and its “Space for life” aspiration, Thales Alenia Space gives rise to all these elements, whose synergy becomes a crucial part of the “Forward to the Moon” strategy.
European Service Module - the backbone of Orion that enables human life inside the capsule
Many key technologies for Orion, the spacecraft that will bring the astronauts to the Moon’s orbit within the Artemis mission, are provided by Thales Alenia Space through the European Service Module (ESM), developed under a European Space Agency (ESA) contract. Thales Alenia Space provides the subsystems that are an essential part of the module, ensuring vital and safe conditions for the crew during the entire mission.
Thales Alenia Space provides critical subsystems for all 6 modules to Airbus Defence and Space, Orion's ESM prime contractor, including the structure, thermal control and main life support capabilities. The state-of-the-art technology used for the primary structure enables the ESM to be light enough to fly farther and longer, while being strong enough to perform its mission.
Recently, Thales Alenia Space delivered the backbone of Orion’s ESM4. The module is now in Airbus Defence and Space’s clean rooms in Bremen, Germany, where it will complete the integration and undergo final tests, supported by Thales Alenia Space engineers on-site. In addition to ESM4, as for previous modules 1, 2 and 3, the forthcoming ESM5 is currently being developed in Thales Alenia Space facilities in Turin.
Leonardo is also partnering the program, supplying the photovoltaic panels (PVA) and Power Control and Distribution Units (PCDU) for ESM modules 1 to 6.
Humanity’s first deep space living quarters: safety, comfort and breathtaking view
Thales Alenia Space key role in Artemis mission continues: the Company, partnering with Northop Grumman, is contributing to HALO, NASA’s habitation and logistic module that enables the “initial” life environment on Lunar Gateway, and acts as a prime contractor for the International Habitation Module (I-HAB), the European home in Lunar Orbit and the breathtaking new windowed module ESPRIT, (European System Providing Refueling, Infrastructure and Telecommunications) ensuring enhanced communications, refueling capability and additional pressurized environment making history for the new industrial solutions to get to the Moon and beyond.
Thanks to its unprecedented expertise, drawing on the experience gained with five Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATV) and development of a large part of the elements for the International Space Station (ATV Integrated Cargo Carriers, Nodes 2 & 3, Cupola, Columbus, MPLM, PMM, Cygnus PCM, Bishop Airlock), Thales Alenia Space is not only leading the race for pressurized modules, but contributing to the development of the “new Apollo” – and to human exploration of space beyond low-Earth orbit.