French studies in the 1960's were supervised by the French Space Agency, CNES, and developed along two paths. Path 1 was a manned hypersonic booster stage, with upper stages coming in manned or unmanned variants according to the mission. Path 2 was more conservative, with either the Path 1 booster or an expendable booster launching a small re-entry vehicle - a 'Space Taxi'.
Dassault studies in 1963 envisioned a Mach 4 booster powered by turboramjets, with the Space Taxi being launched from it and continuing to orbit. The Minstral design by Nord Aviation was a joint project with SNECMA, CNES, ERNO, and the German Space Agency. This used a delta-winged air breathing first stage, and a lifting body second stage. Sud Aviation produced a similar design, but with both stages using delta wings. In support of these studies ERNO conducted drop test of subscale models from a Transall C-160 over the Baltic and Mediterranean.
Status: Study 1963.
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Winged In the beginning, nobody (except Jules Verne) thought anybody would be travelling to space and back in ballistic cannon balls. The only proper way for a space voyager to return to earth was at the controls of a real winged airplane. More...
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
Dassault French manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Dassault Aircraft, France. More...
Nord French manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Nord Aviation, France. More...
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