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Shock wave encountered by Hermes on re-entry

Shock wave encountered by Hermes on re-entry

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Credit

PHOTO DASSAULT-BREGUET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHOTO DASSAULT-BREGUET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Computer-aided aerodynamic simulation of Hermes encountering a shockwave as it travels at Mach 25 through the upper atmosphere during re-entry. Hermes, the European Space Agency's re-usable spaceplane, will be 15 metre long with an 11 metre wingspan. Its launch weight of 22 tonnes will include 3 crew members & a 3 tonne payload. It will be placed in low earth orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket. The first (unmanned) test flight is scheduled for 1998. Two Hermes are to be built; each is expected to undergo 30 orbital flights.

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