posted on May, 12 2003 @ 12:17 PM
Okay; it's a very, very old project, cancelled in 1993, but maybe some of you are too young to have known what was the HERMES project. The european
Class: Manned. Type: Spaceplane. Nation: France. Agency: ESA. Manufacturer: Dassault.
The Hermes spaceplane began as a purely French project. As development costs increased, France managed to obtain other European funding, primarily
from Germany, for development of the spacecraft. Hermes would have provided independent European manned access to space, and the weight growth of the
spacecraft during design and development was a major driver in the specification for the Ariane 5 space launcher. Hermes was designed to take three
astronauts to orbits of up to 800 km altitude on missions of 30 to 90 days in space. Payload to be returned to earth could be contained in a small
payload bay, but most experiments were included in an expendable pressurised supply module, equipped with a docking port, mounted to the base of the
glider. After the Challenger disaster many safety precautions were added, leading to yet further weight and cost growth. In an emergency the crew cab
could have been separated from the remainder of the glider. Yet later the crew escape capsule idea was abandoned and replaced by three Martin Baker
ejection seats to save weight. Hermes was to have been launched atop an Ariane 5 by 1998, but by 1992 estimated development costs rose to DM 12
billion and the project was cancelled.
Some link :