European Odyssey Mission Moon

Airbus: The European Odyssey, from the Moon to Mars

The European odyssey continues, from the Moon to Mars. A space conquest that lifts all heads to the sky. The more complete discovery of the Moon, and even see further with a manned mission to Mars… The progress of aerospace players is pushing the boundaries of innovation even further. In this universe, Europe is making a special place as a contributor to the international effort. Indeed, Airbus and the European Space Agency (ESA) are at the centre of the interest of the space community. Airbus’ mission is to design the European heavy aircraft (EL3). A revolutionary system, to conquer the Moon…

The European odyssey drives space innovation

The European Heavy Alunissor (EL3) aims to deliver scientific or logistical payloads to the Moon. 100% European, it will carry 1.7 tons of cargo, anywhere on the Moon. This is once again a giant step forward for Airbus in space, after the success of its ROXY program. The latter could eventually transform lunar dust into oxygen through a complex process. A revolution that would bring a real solution on Earth and in space, especially from an ecological point of view.

El3 is still in its definition phase. A long work begins, before the first flights planned for the end of the 2020s. This alunissor will then fly on numerous missions over the next decade, and beyond. A real progression that allows us to see even further, and to push even more the conquest of space.

Aluniseur moon expedition mission
The EL3 allows you to land anywhere on the Moon. Source Airbus

In this equation, Europe contributes greatly to the roadmap, with the support of ESA and 14 other space agencies around the world. The success of the EL3 would then open up many possibilities in the Old Continent. Missions to Mars, an ambition of a manned flight never before realized… But also the transmission of elements for manned space stations. Notably for the International Space Station, Gateway or the European Service Module of Orion. The latter will take Artemis to his next manned mission, bound for the lunar surface.

Ultimately, the objective of this European odyssey is to enable a sustainable exploration of the Moon, to develop all the related missions, including ROXY. The European Space Agency also wants to use EL3 on several missions over at least 10 years.

Europe takes a prominent place in the space universe

With the support of Airbus to design the EL3, Europe is a sustainable space company. The European odyssey is real, although it has been underway for a few years now. With this new innovation, Europe is making a substantial contribution to the international effort, and even plays an essential role. Role in the next phase of human exploration of the Moon.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is also an invaluable partner of the international space community. It thus occupies an important position, at the heart of all decisions for future missions, especially international ones.

Expedition mission Moon space
The EL3 will carry a significant cargo to carry out many lunar missions. Source Airbus

In this environment, France is one of the most in tune with aerospace. In New Aquitaine, the NAASC (University Space Center of New Aquitaine) drives innovation. This association of higher education institutions in New Aquitaine, trains for the civil and military space domain.

Beyond these innovations, the region also wants to build its SpaceHub, a project accelerator and think tank around the theme of space and its applications in society. A project postponed to a later date, as a result of COVID-19…


  1. Airbus selected by ESA for its alunissor study, Release of 14 October 2020
  2. Action background, NAASC
  3. Excerpt from the register of deliberations of the Municipal Council, City of Saint-Médard en Jalles, 4 November 2020
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