back to article Teensy weensy space shuttle flies and lands

Sierra Nevada Corporation's “Dream Chaser” automated spaceplane has successfully flown and landed. The vehicle looks a lot like NASA's Space Shuttle and like that vehicle can land on a runway. It's rather smaller, however, and at just nine metres long is designed to fit atop lots of launch vehicles and to carry crew and cargo …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How teensie weensie exactly?

    ...article doesn't say... seriously, where is the detail Reg??

    1. sms123

      Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

      See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_Chaser

      "... while maintaining the relative outer mold line-6.9 m (22.5 ft) in length with a wingspan of 5.5 m (18.2 ft), ..."

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

        The El Reg article states 9m long, Wikipedia states 6.9m...

        Maybe there are several variations... It could be a small Shuttle or a large Playmobil.

        But in any event it is smaller than anything that I would feel comfortable re-entering the atmosphere in...

        please fasten your seat belts we are about to enter some turbulence...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

          "But in any event it is smaller than anything that I would feel comfortable re-entering the atmosphere in..."

          The space capsules of early years would have been smaller than that. There was a Soviet Exhibition in London in the 1960s where they had one of their space capsules on display.

          IIRC it was a large metal ball with a circular hatch cover containing a small porthole. The hatch was held in place by something like 25mm diameter studs secured by hex nuts. Quite an apparently low-tech contrast to the US Gemini capsules.

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

        The picture in Reg is not actual size? Aww.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

          The picture in Reg is not actual size? Aww.

          Depends how big your monitor is

    2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

      ...I'm going to guess an itty bitty* bit bigger than a polka-dot bikini.

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      *Pedantic <spoiler>Yes, I know it should actually be itsy bitsy, but as El Reg said Teensy Weensy instead of Teenie Weenie, I reserve the right to follow their half-spoonerism</spoiler>

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

        I would like to clarify that not all polka dot bikinis are itsy-bitsy.

        As Anthony said to Cleopatra "Some girls are bigger than others"

        1. Trumpet Winsock

          Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

          And some are further away...

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: How teensie weensie exactly?

          I would like to clarify that not all polka dot bikinis are itsy-bitsy.

          Or, presumably, yellow..

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

      The Shuttle was a fairly conventional body-and-wings design like a normal aircraft.

      People go with lifting bodies because they want to minimize the wing are, and hence the area you need to cover with a heat shield.

      Otherwise LB's tend to have much worse handling characteristics than body-and-wings (which is an impressive feat, given the Shuttle handled like a brick).

      DC is actually the most cutting edge tech seen for ISS resupply. It's a crew rated (given it has to berth to the Station) all composite (carbon fibre) human sized lifting body. Nothing has all those things together in one package.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

        "given the Shuttle handled like a brick"

        "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.”

        Worked for the Vogons!!!

      2. deconstructionist

        Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

        Actually this is nearly identical to NASA's original design for the shuttle until the military turned it into a disaster waiting to happen, so I am sure there will be NASA bodies lamenting at how this was how it should have been done , though this time the military cant f**k it up again.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

          this time the military cant f**k it up again.

          Well, they don't need to since (having experimented on humans with the original Space Shuttle) they've now had their own built, the X37.

          Of course, the idea of a lifting body space plane isn't a US invention, it is a copy of an idea the Russians were trialling in the 1980s. I suppose with the F35B being an expensive copy of the Yak 141, the Russians are now originators for the US' cutting edge programmes. What will America do if the Russians stop giving them these ideas?

          1. Mage Silver badge
            Alien

            Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

            It does seem a lot like the X37.

            More similar to X37 size?

            The X37B specs from Wikipedia:

            Length: 29 ft 3 in (8.92 m)

            Wingspan: 14 ft 11 in (4.55 m)

            Height: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)

            Max takeoff weight: 11,000 lb (4,990 kg)

            Payload bay: 7 × 4 ft (2.1 × 1.2 m)

          2. Holtsmark

            Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

            "Of course, the idea of a lifting body space plane isn't a US invention, it is a copy of an idea the Russians were trialling in the 1980s."

            If the Russians played with lifting bodies in the eighties, then THEY were the copyycats.

            "The original idea of lifting bodies was conceived about 1957 by Dr. Alfred J. Eggers Jr., then the assistant director for Research and Development Analysis and Planning at what later became the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA"

            "In 1962, FRC Director Paul Bikle approved a program to build a lightweight, unpowered lifting body as a prototype to flight test the wingless concept. Construction was completed in 1963"

            https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/history/pastprojects/Lifting/index.html

            All this research made it possible to create the DreamChaser without having to spend large amounts of money on aerodynamic research. Basically they picked up a dropped NASA project,

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

              "https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/history/pastprojects/Lifting/index.h"

              I'm getting a special NASA 404 page on that , has the weight of reg readers stampeding over there to read it broken it? in an hour?

              1. PC LOAD LETTER

                Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

                Sadly no, it seems to work, but needs the full ".html" at the end:

                https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/history/pastprojects/Lifting/index.html

                But thanks for the fun 404! Kinda rare these days. For the 404 go here:

                https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/history/pastprojects/Lifting/index.h

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

              Ever considered that two people can independently come up with the same solution?

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXlfXirQF3A

          3. TechnicalBen Silver badge

            Re: AC and the Yak

            Thank you for posting that, I'm now on a little Wiki-rabbithole. :D

            That looks like one crazy aircraft. Crazy in the good sense! And to think it's a design almost as old as me. How did I not know such a thing existed?

            1. Holtsmark

              Re: AC and the Yak

              It was a series of aircraft.

              The first one was built by NASA scientists in their spare time. Apparently quite a few of them were building their own aircraft on hobby basis.

              As the program moved on, the basic shape aquired a flat under surface with delta wing and long chin strakes https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/images/299259main_EC75-4643_full.jpg

              Looks familiar doesnt it?

              Following the evolution of aircraft design can be quite facinating.

              For example the offspring of TA183 can be all over the world. amazingly the Saab Tunnan is the one that got closest to the original design, apparently because the Swedish were most adept at reading german technical documentation on it's original language.

          4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

            "copy of an idea the Russians were trialling in the 1980s"

            Your timeline is a bit off.

            Russia had Buran in the 80s, which was a reply to the US Space Shuttle.

            Before both systems were the US lifting body experiments, plus the Dynasoaur, and the Soviet BOR and MiG-105 testbeds, all starting in the '60s. The soviets were trailing in this research, the USA was trialling lifting body aircraft in the early '60s, whereas the MiG-105 wasn't until 1969.

            Dreamchaser however does strongly resemble the MiG-105.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Space Shuttle = lifting body says NASA Re: Actually not much like the Shuttle at all

        It says here:

        https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/9-12/features/F_Aeronautics_of_Space_Shuttle.html

        "The Space Shuttle is a Lifting Body"

        "The space shuttle, with a shape like a bulky glider, is actually a lifting body"

        - and let's face it, NASA ought to know.

        As it happens, the Apollo Command Module also counted as a lifting body, albeit with a much worse lift to drag ratio. Those stubby little wings on the Space Shuttle is how come the thing was able to land on a runway rather than having to splash down in the ocean underneath parachutes.

  2. Long John Brass Silver badge

    RTFA

    It's 0.9762 Double-decker bus

  3. Michael Thibault

    The critical detail...

    Is it more than one lane wide?

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: The critical detail...

      12 yards long, 2 lanes wide,

      65 tons of American Pride...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: The critical detail...

        "12 yards long, 2 lanes wide,

        65 tons of American Pride..."

        oh , like those Cadillacs they made in the '60s

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: The critical detail...

          12 yards ....

          oh .right . now I get it . Simpsons ....

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: The critical detail...

          oh , like those Cadillacs they made in the '60s

          No - the DC handles considerably better (Or, at least, I hope so..)

  4. Schultz
    Thumb Up

    How cute

    Next, give it to some astronaut and have him drop it from the space station!

    1. Jonathan Richards 1

      Re: How cute

      Yep. Helicopter drop height, as reported:

      3 km

      Kármán line (edge of space):

      100 km

      Orbital height of ISS:

      405 km

      We should call this Rary. As in, "It's a long way to tip a Rary".

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Playmobil

    Lester would have had such great fun with this one.

    Of which, I note that Playmobil now sell a glider with pilot... lacks the fun rocket engine, though.

    1. Michael Thibault

      Re: Playmobil

      There's nothing wrong with technology that a little innovation can't fix.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Playmobil

        Do they still sell the solid fuel Jetex engines? Made my pal's Airfix Lanchester model car fly.

        1. Spiracle

          Re: Playmobil

          Do they still sell the solid fuel Jetex engines? Made my pal's Airfix Lanchester model car fly.

          'fly' or 'hurtle'?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Playmobil

            "'fly' or 'hurtle'?"

            Well it definitely was airborne.

          2. Lt.Kije

            Re: Playmobil

            Ah, the awesome jetex.

            In my impatience to fire up my new Payloader, I hung it from a washing line strung inside the greenhouse, lit the fuse and retired to a not quite safe distance. It quickly became a blurred into a disc around the washing line before achieving escape velocity.

            It smashed a neighbour's window before the shattered greenhouse glass had hit the ground.

            1. Michael Thibault

              Re: Playmobil

              "It smashed a neighbour's window before the shattered greenhouse glass had hit the ground."

              So, promising tethered-flight test results. Bad news about the budget?

              1. Lt.Kije

                Re: Playmobil

                The pocket money account ran at a deficit for a longtime.

        2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

          Re: Playmobil

          Jetexes are long gone. You can still find them on eBay, but since you can no longer get fuses or fuel pellets for them, they are collector's items.

          The closest replacements are the Czech-made Rapier Rocket motors, which are just a range of small slow-burning model rocket motors that give similar thrust to Jetex motors and burn for a similar time.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Playmobil

            Jetexes are long gone. You can still find them on eBay, but since you can no longer get fuses or fuel pellets for them, they are collector's items.

            I have fond memories of the Jetexe. They were a bit tough to find back then but available. Then there was Estes which were popular and they're still available. https://www.estesrockets.com/

    2. Spudley

      Re: Playmobil

      Playmobile also sell a rocket which can be launched into spaaaaaacccce onto the neighbour's roof.

      http://www.playmobil.co.uk/rocket-with-launch-booster/6187.html

  6. Overflowing Stack

    What next?

    Brewery making a space plane! Does it have an optional hipster beard?

    1. Joe Werner

      Re: What next?

      Was my first thought as well :)

      First time I had one of theirs was at the Endurance Challenge in the Marin County Headlands (cool race by the way, but I only did the half marathon). Sierra Nevada provided free beer after the race (1st free, then really cheap afterwards).

  7. macjules Silver badge

    How many flights?

    Isn't this it's first actually successful flight? IIRC the last one ended rather badly with the nose landing gear failing to deploy.

    I think that I would like to see a lot more testing, including a space launch and recovery, before I signed it up to ISS resupply missions.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: How many flights?

      It does seem to be missing the two most dangerous parts of a space mission, particularly for a winged reusable thingy.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: How many flights?

      If 'twas only nose gear failure then the previous flight was also a success, with a poor landing.

      Most aircraft can pull off a successful landing without nosegear (or tailwheel).

      Sometimes you can even use the plane again.

      1. Joe Werner

        Re: How many flights?

        If you can walk away, the landing was successful ;)

        And: flaring is for cowards...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How many flights?

        "Sometimes you can even use the plane again."

        Belfast airport last week.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: How many flights?

            Unfortunately, real aircraft are not that strong.

            This was the first Thunderbirds episode shown, so dates from around 1965, over fifty years ago.

            The effects still stand up now. Good old British brute force, ignorance and an explosives license at it's best.

            Interestingly, in the episode "Terror in New York", Thunderbird 2 is crash landed using foam to ease the landing, something that is now done in reality.

            1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

              Re: How many flights?

              I prefer this.

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: How many flights?

                That's *insane*.

                Boing!

              2. Martin Budden

                Re: How many flights? @ Aladdin Sane

                I have a signed autobiography of Winkle Brown, it is a fascinating read. He was truly amazing.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's wrong with including a basic specsheet?

    I mean, how much effort would that actually take to put together? One of the reasons why The Mail is one of the most frequented news websites on earth is the easily scannable precis bulletpoint sentences at the top highlighting the main nuggets. This article could have been organised much better for those who don't want to scan through the entire block of text for measurements WRITTEN AS WORDS NOT NUMBERS!!!!

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: What's wrong with including a basic specsheet?

      People like you are responsible for all "video news" on the bbc news site. Get thee behind me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's wrong with including a basic specsheet?

        Why on earth would you think that? I like not wasting time, most busy people are. Why would I want to watch cr*ppy little pointless bbc "video news"? It takes too damn long for the information gleaned. This article rambles hither and dither but enjoyably so, however, it could do with a precis of what the F8CK the salient points are at the beginning including details like wingspan, length, weight etc. to justify the tagline if nothing else. I mean, the first damned question which immediately to mind is "How Teensy Weensie Exactly?"... it's halfway down the page, vaguely so stated in words.. this is a technology based website for chrissakes, what the heck is wrong with presenting information with clarity?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: What's wrong with including a basic specsheet?

      One of the reasons why The Mail is one of the most frequented news websites

      ..is that it's written for hard-of-thinking racist morons, of which there is a plentiful supply?

      It can't be for the quality of journalism..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's wrong with including a basic specsheet?

        Let's be clear: I hate The Mail. However, it's got an easily scannable layout for gleaning info quickly, for those pushed for time, which includes everyone and particularly those in IT. I hate to say it, but whenever The Mail dumbs down a sciency feature for digestion by the masses, they tend to do a better job of it than the other printed newspapers. Nazis were great at science too.

  9. M7S

    Space fighter, or at least a toy for the very rich

    There is a rather "windscreen looking" black strip in the pictures, so there's hope of something you can take a partner and a small weekend bag in....

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Space fighter, or at least a toy for the very rich

      I was really hoping I could lash a wicker picnic basket to the back, tie a silk scarf round my hair and still arrive looking every bit the thoroughly modern girl.

      1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Space fighter, or at least a toy for the very rich

        Beware of silk scarves and rotating machinery, including wheels.

        http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dancer-isadora-duncan-is-killed-in-car-accident

        1. Martin Budden

          Re: Space fighter, or at least a toy for the very rich

          @Mystic Megabyte

          https://youtu.be/M68ndaZSKa8

      2. Long John Brass Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Space fighter, or at least a toy for the very rich

        Something you can take a partner and a small weekend bag in

        Taking the wife AND mistress? Brave man :)

  10. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    The lifting body spaceplane lives on

    Nice to know Steve Austin didn't lose his legs in vain.

    1. Ochib

      Re: The lifting body spaceplane lives on

      Austin 3:16 says "I just rebuilt your body"

    2. Peter Clarke 1

      Re: The lifting body spaceplane lives on

      Damn, you beat me to the TV reference

      'We have the technology, we have the capability to build ......'

    3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Finally found it

      The 'real Steve Austin'.

  11. Roj Blake Silver badge

    X-37

    The design is at least as reminiscent of the X-37 as it is of the Space Shuttle

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: X-37

      I'd say that the X-37B looks like a (baby) Shuttle, whereas the Dreamchaser looks like an HL-20, which it should as that's what it was originally based on.

      The HL-20 looks like a mash-up of an HL-10, and a BOR-4, and again, that's basically what it is.

      If anyone wants to know more about lifting bodies then I can recommend "Wingless Flight" by Dale Reed, which you can read here

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity

    Where TF does it do that?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity

      It means that it is subjected to acceleration equal to no more than 1.5G.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity

        But it doesnt say that does it?

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity

      Terribly sorry, misread your comment.

      <block quote>"The design also means that the Dream Chaser can return to terra firma while encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity."</block quote>

      So it does say how it happens.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity

        It is rather unclear and smacks of someone just repeating a number they've heard rather than trying to describe exactly what it means.

        I interpreted it as the force of impact on landing. Perhaps I was wrong.

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity

          @David Nash (and others)

          It is rather unclear and smacks of someone just repeating a number they've heard rather than trying to describe exactly what it means.

          I interpreted it as the force of impact on landing. Perhaps I was wrong.

          I think you may be wrong - I interpret it as a maximum deceleration of 1.5 times the (standard) force of gravity at the earth's surface - that is, about 14.7 m/s2, which is pretty good. Standard Soyuz descents follow a profile that hits a maximum of 4.5G - if something goes wrong and the Soyuz does a ballistic descent, it can hit 8G. Space Shuttle descents hit about 3G. For contrast, there are abort scenarios for Soyuz launches that regard 21G as 'survivable'.

          You can work it out yourself: if you know the orbital velocity and the velocity of the point on the surface of the earth where you come to a relative standstill (remember, the earth is rotating), then the change in velocity divided by the time taken for the descent gives you the average deceleration. The actual maximum will depend on the descent profile.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity

            For contrast, there are abort scenarios for Soyuz launches that regard 21G as 'survivable'.

            Survivable? By what prithee tell...

            1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

              Re: survivable 21G

              >>For contrast, there are abort scenarios for Soyuz launches that regard 21G as 'survivable'.

              >Survivable? By what prithee tell...

              Col. John Stapp, and presumably well-trained Russian cosmonauts. The seats/couches in the Soyuz capsule are bespoke for each occupant, and Col. Stapp demonstrated that with the right seat and harnesses, the human body (in the appropriate orientation) can survive surprisingly high acceleration/decelerations.

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Re: survivable 21G

                Thanks. I wasn't aware of that.

            2. cray74

              Re: encountering just 1.5 times Earth gravity

              Survivable? By what prithee tell...

              20Gs is the norm for many current model ejection seats. It's tolerable for carefully seated and supported personnel for a fraction of a second. The ACE II seat supposedly only produces back injuries in 1% of ejections.

  13. steelpillow Silver badge
    Devil

    1.5G

    According to Wikipedia "The vehicle will launch vertically on an Atlas V, Ariane 5 or Falcon Heavy rocket". I reckon that at a tad more than 1.5G.

    Slogan: "If we can get you up there in one piece, we can bring you back home in one piece (terms and conditions apply)".

    1. Hairy Spod

      Re: 1.5G

      They are not talking about sending injured astronaughts into space, just bringing them back

      I think it means a landing of 1.5G not take off.

      As the body produces more lift it allows for a much softer landing than a controlled crash landing which is what the original shuttle would have made

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: 1.5G

        Not astronauts, generally, but experimental stuff, like zero g grown crystals, which require low accelerations forces to survive to the ground.

  14. Hairy Spod

    The vehicle looks a lot like NASA's Space Shuttle

    by which you mean they both share a Nasa default white and black colour scheme...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Linux

      Re: The vehicle looks a lot like NASA's Space Shuttle

      So do penguins...

      1. PerspexAvenger

        Re: The vehicle looks a lot like NASA's Space Shuttle

        I don't believe they drop-test quite so neatly, unfortunately.

  15. unwarranted triumphalism

    Well I'm glad we don't have any problems down here that need sorting so we can now spunk all the money on toys for nerds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Twat.

      I think, given all the problems here on Earth, that you are clearly in the wrong job, and should be working solely to fixing those problem on Earth. Also, your entire salary should also go to fixing those problems. One of those problems is overcrowding, so no procreation from you please.

      Because, according to you, they are the only things worth trying to do.

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Explain how your nerd toys solve any of the real problems we have.

        Can you try doing so without using any foul language? Or is that too difficult for you?

  16. Doctor Huh?

    Back to my childhood...

    Does anyone else think that this looks like the lifting-body craft whose crash turned Steve Austin into the Six Million Dollar Man???

    "Flight call, I can't hold it! She's breaking up! She's breaking up!"

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Back to my childhood...

      Yeah, check out the MiG-105 and the HL-20 lifting body experimental aircraft, both date from the '60s,.... also check out the 'Dynasoar' which was a small shuttle to be launched from the top of a rocket.

      Sadly these projects were not pursued and the Shuttle was instead. We could have had some more specific competing space planes instead of the one size fits all Shuttle. Ho hum.

    2. Holtsmark

      Re: Back to my childhood...

      The similiarity is no coincidence:

      https://youtu.be/3jvGJhJINlc

      See my earlier posts on the lifting body program

    3. Michael Thibault

      Re: Back to my childhood...

      IIRC:

      "Flight call, the pitch is out. I can't hold it! She's breaking up! She's breaking up!"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back to my childhood...

      The Dream Chaser is derived from the NASA lifting body research programme which counted as its most unfortunate event the very crash used in the opening title sequence of the Six Million Dollar Man, so, erm, yes it would look rather similar.

      Bruce Peterson was the pilot in real life and he survived until 2006. I've just read that the only permanent injury he sustained as a result of the crash was the loss of sight in one eye due to an infection contracted while he was being treated in hospital.

  17. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Escape pods

    I notice the reference to 'injured astronauts'. Does this mean they could leave one permanently hitched to the ISS for emergency evacuation? Or does appendicitis still require experimental zero-gravity surgery with a tin-opener?

  18. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Okay -- I get the idea that this is cool and all

    But there's no mention of the Orbital ATK hyjinx this weekend?

  19. David McCoy
    Joke

    Lifting Body Shuttle?

    Because that worked out so well for Col. Steve Austin

  20. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Hermes was a proposed spaceplane designed by the French Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) in 1975, and later by the European Space Agency (ESA). It was superficially similar to the American Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar and the larger Space Shuttle.

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