Europe may get a manned spacecraft (carefully not called a space shuttle), which is nice. I think the cold war US leading the way was a good thing, but it’s also important to have other players in the game. I’m not sure we’ll see that sort of drive again anytime soon as it was such a cultural “gotta get there first” mentality that I don’t know if we could recapture (or would really want to, getting to the moon was great, but the rest of the cold war wasn’t so much fun).
A plan for a manned spacecraft has been announced by the European firm EADS.
Its Astrium division has designed a variant of its space station freighter that could also transport astronauts.
Limited details were released in Bremen, Germany, on Tuesday; further information and a mock-up are expected at the Berlin Air Show this month.
Europe does not currently possess its own human space transportation system and is reliant on the Americans and the Russians to get its people into orbit.
European Space Agency (Esa) boss Jean-Jacques Dordain has spoken frequently of his desire to see an independent system; and the US space agency (Nasa) chief, Mike Griffin, has also urged Europe to build its own crew carrier.