Hermes space shuttle, artwork

Hermes space shuttle, artwork

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Credit: DAVID DUCROS, ESA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hermes space shuttle, cutaway artwork. This proposed European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft was intended to perform a role similar to that of NASA's Space Shuttle. It would have been launched into orbit with an Ariane 5 rocket, with a Resource Module (RM, lower left) attached to its rear. After separating from the RM, it would have re-entered the atmosphere and glided back to Earth. The initial design by the French space agency (CNES) dates from the 1970s. Approval was obtained in 1987, but the project was cancelled in 1992. It would have weighed 21 tons, been 19 metres in length, and had a crew of three.

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