Themis will be the ultimate demonstrator, which will determine whether or not the development of a reusable launch vehicle would be cost effective. It will retain the external shape of ARES, while incorporating propellant tanks, and a propulsion bay. The aerodynamic characteristics proved valid with ARES, notably for the landing approach phase, will be directly applicable.
Three missions have been studied. The first would demonstrate the final approach phase and the landing: it is identical to that of ARES. The second would involve flights at high supersonic speeds (up to Mach 4) with the vehicle returning to land on a runway near to the launch site. The third would involve a launch from Kourou, and a hypersonic flight (Mach 11) followed by a runway landing, possibly in the French Indies.
Objectives: Clear demonstration of Europe's capacity to design and build a cost effective, reusable launch vehicle. Self propelled vehicle using a reusable cryogenic system, unpropelled landing. Integration of key reentry technologies flight proven by the preceding experimental vehicles. Integration of key technologies developed on the ground: reusable cryogenic propulsion, structures, materials, vehicle health monitoring. Repetitive flights to gain experience in operations and maintenance.
Characteristics Dry mass: about 22 metric tons Lift-off mass: about 55 metric tons Length: about 27 meters Diameter: about 4 meters Wing span: about 14 meters Tanks integrated in the structure ; Engine derived from Vulcain Vertical lift-off from Kourou, horizontal landings in Cayenne (Mach 4 flights) or in the French Indies (Mach 10 flights).
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Updated: Thursday 18th, January, 2003