The European Commonwealth took heavy losses in the Aberrant War, and was a latecomer to space travel. The Esperanza was only launched in 2112, and was considered a symbol of Europe's re-entry into global prominence. It occupied the L1 LaGrange point, directly between the Earth and the Sun.
In 2114, Psions of the electrakinetic Orgotek Order explained that they had intercepted some kind of Aberrant transmission, that an attack was imminent on the Esperanza. Sadly, the psions' effort could not save the station. During the attack, the Esperanza was knocked from its relatively stable L1 Lagrange point. Even the station's advanced stabilizing thrusters weren't enough to keep it from tumbling toward Earth.
Gravitational and re-entry stresses and the attack itself tore the Esperanza apart; it fell in pieces over the Atlantic and crashed to Earth over much of France and parts of Spain, as well as over various parts of Western Europe. Ground-based weaponry in Germany was able to break up some pieces of debris, mitigating its impact, but all told eleven million people were killed in minutes. The resulting psychic shockwave was felt by psions around the world, in some cases causing strokes, seizures or psychological breakdowns. Much of France to this day remains a wasteland.
In the wake of the tragedy, it was discovered that all members of one of the psi orders, the Upeo wa Macho, had disappeared from Earth. Many hypothesized that the Upeo had been murdered by Aberrants or even Chromatics using the Esperanza crash as cover. It was also rumored that Orgotek's strike teams were activated and put in position hours before the attack, fueling conspiracy theories regarding the ties between psions and Aberrants. In truth, the other Psi Orders were preparing an attack on the Upeo themselves, and Aberrants lead by The Colony exploited the concentration of their forces over Africa to target the Esperanza.