Spaceplane HERMES: Europe's Dream of Independent Manned Spaceflight

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Springer, Nov 26, 2016 - Technology & Engineering - 588 pages
This is the first comprehensive book on the European Hermes program. It tells the fascinating story of how Europe aimed for an independent manned spaceflight capability which was to complement US and Soviet/Russian space activities. In 1975, France decided to expand its plans for automated satellites for materials processing to include the development of a small 10 ton spaceplane to be launched on top of a future heavy-lifting Ariane rocket. This Hermes spaceplane would give Europe its own human spaceflight capability for shuttling crews between Earth and space stations. The European Space Agency backed the proposal. Unfortunately, after detailed studies, the project was cancelled in 1993. If Hermes had been introduced into service, it could have become the preferred "space taxi" for ferrying crews to and from the International Space Station. But that opportunity was lost. This book provides the first look of the complete story of and reasons for the demise of this ambitious program. It also gives an account which pieces of Hermes survived and are active in the 2nd decade of the 21st century. This fascinating story will be a great read for space enthusiasts. But it will also serve as a comprehensive documentation of an important episode in the history of manned spaceflight.
 

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Contents

Origins Reentry Vehicles and Orbital Factories 19461983
1
Getting Serious CNES Develops a Concept 19831985
27
One or the Other Selecting the Prime Contractor 1985
53
Safety Rethink The Challenger Accident 1986
79
The Road Not Taken CNES Decides Against Maia 1987
101
The Hague Adoption by ESA 19871988
126
Ever Growing Hermes Gains a Module 19881989
147
Competition and the Others Spacecraft from Around the World
172
Descendants Of Astronauts and Wings
359
Space Freighter for ISS The Promise of ATV
373
Hermes Legacy A Continued Mission of Sorts
383
Keeping in Touch The DRS Satellites and Mission Control
402
Staying Cool The Thermal Protection System
417
In Orbit Infrastructure Platforms and Space Stations
435
Learning to Fly Astronauts and Their Training
454
Inside and Out The Space Suits and Escape Systems
473

Shifting Priorities Equipment Relocations 19891990
187
The Transatlantic Scene Freedom Struggles Columbus and the DoD
205
Buying Time The sixmonth Extension of Phase 1 1990
217
Outside Influence The Costly Fall of the Berlin Wall 19901991
242
Change at Munich Stretching the Imagination 1991
271
Scaling Down X2000 and Russia to the Rescue 19911992
300
Grenada The End of the Road 1992
333
LiftOff and Getting Home Safely Preparation Launch and Landing Facilities
505
Looking Back The Hermes Experience
527
Afterword
553
Abbreviations and Acronyms
557
Greek Mythology Sources of Names in the Hermes and Related Programmes
571
Index
574
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Luc van den Abeelen’s first publication was in Spaceflight magazine in 1987 on the subject of the Mir space station. He continued the Soviet/Russian theme of his writing and in 1999, wrote on the historical theme of the Soviet Lunar landing program, and, in the same year, in JBIS on the history of later planned Soviet Lunar mission. For the past 15 years, he has contributed commentary on current space events on national Dutch radio and television.

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