DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
European Space Agency astronaut Dr Wubbo J. Ockels sitting at the controls of the Hermes flight simulator in Toulouse, France. Dutch born Ockels has spent 12 years in the European astronaut programme. In October 1985 he flew on ESA's Spacelab mission. Hermes, a re-usable spaceplane, will be 15 metre long with an 11 metre wingspan. It will be lifted into low earth orbit, along with it's crew of three & 3 tonne payload, by an Ariane 5 launcher. The first (unmanned) test flight is scheduled for 1998. Two Hermes are to be built; each is expected to undergo around 30 flights over a 15 year working life.
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