|Above: A schematic of the defunct HERMES spaceplane. Courtesy of ESA.
Above: A rundown on the IXV test craft, which flew into space for the first time last year. Courtesy of ESA
...and they've also invested 30 million dollars in the Dreamchaser mini-shuttle, expressing an interest in launching them on top of ESA.s Ariane 5 rocket. Sierra Nevada systems have even redesigned the Dreamchaser so it will work with the Ariane.
Above: A rundown on the unmanned, folding wing, version of the Dreamchaser spacecraft.
It seems that ESA dreams of their own re-useable spacecraft aren't as dead as some assumed, and who can blame them? The age of the mini-shuttle could truly be upon us: The U.S. airforce has even developed their own spaceplane - the X37-B - because they missed the Shuttle's capabilities. ESA is keeping it's plans close to its chest, however with them talking seriously about a manned lunar base it seems their ambitions for the coming decade have been awakened...
|Above: The X37-B.
Elsewhere in the Universe:
Milestone for the LISA gravitational wave mission
Mars was destroyed by its volcanos
Director of Star Wars Episode 9 floats the idea of filming in space.