Europe’s Hermes Spaceplane – A Quick Overview

Hermes was a proposed spaceplane designed by the French Centre National Études Spatiales (CNES) in 1975, and later by the European Space Agency (ESA). It was superficially similar to the American Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar and the larger Space Shuttle.

In January 1985, CNES proposed to proceed with Hermes development under the auspices of the ESA. Hermes was to have been part of a crewed spaceflight program. It would have been launched using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. In November 1987, the project was approved; it was to commence an initial pre-development phase from 1988 to 1990, after which the authorisation to proceed to full-rate development was to depend on the outcome of this phase. However, the project was subject to numerous delays and funding issues around this period.

In 1992, Hermes was cancelled. This was in part due to unachievable cost and performance goals, as well as the formation of a partnership with the Russian Aviation and Space Agency (RKA), which reduced the demand for an independent crewed spaceplane. As a result. no Hermes shuttles were ever built.

Additional information for the curious

Source: Wikipedia

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