Copyright ę 2006 by Jčrgen Herholz. Published by The Mars Society with permission
EUROPEAN SPACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM (STS) PROJECTS
In the years from 1985 onwards several manned and unmanned space transportation systems have been planned in Western Europe, some of them under leadership of ESA, the European Space Agency, others as national undertakings. Objectives were, besides the launch of commercial payloads, the visit and re-supply of space infrastructure elements such as the space stations Mir and Freedom (later ISS) as well as envisaged European systems such as a polar platform, a data relay satellite called DRS and a Free-Flyer laboratory called Man Tended Free-flyer or MTFF.
The systems described include
- HOTOL, a single stage horizontal take-off and landing vehicles
- HERMES, a horizontal entry and landing vehicle launched on top of the ARIANE 5 launcher
- SAENGER, a two stage horizontal take-off and landing vehicle using a modified HERMES as second stage
- ARD, a capsule type re-entry vehicle launched by ARIANE 5 - ATV, an automated transport launched by ARIANE 5.
The HOTOL, HERMES and SAENGER projects were all three abandoned along with the envisaged European infrastructure elements mentioned above in favor of the presently defined contributions of Europe to the ISS, which are COLUMBUS and the ATV. HERMES was abandoned in an advanced definition and pre-development status in 1992, but continues as technology program up to 1997, providing Europe a number of technological advances and experiences, and leading subsequently to a European participation in the study of new manned transportation systems such as the CTV, X-38 and CLIPPER.
The author, Dipl.Ing. Jčrgen Herholz, was from 1987 to 1997 Development Manager and Deputy Project Manager of the HERMES project in Toulouse, France. He is member of the Mars Society Deutschland and the Mars Society USA.