Hermes Hits $20,000 Crowd Sourcing Target

Congratulations to STAR Systems of Phoenix, which has hit its $20,000 fund-raising target on Kickstarter to fund work on its Hermes space plane.

A description of the spacecraft and the development effort from the company’s website is shown below:

The Hermes spacecraft, named after the ancient Greek god of boundaries and the people cross them, is a suborbital space shuttle for everyone, built on the premise that anyone should be able to take a trip into space without spending their life savings. It’s inspired by people like yourself who want to go into space but don’t want to spend a fortune to get there. “There aren’t too many people who get to be astronauts,” explains Morris Jarvis, the founder of STAR Systems and the Hermes spacecraft. “I think anybody who wants to fly into space should have that opportunity.”

Compared to other vehicles in its class, the Hermes spacecraft is a fully reusable, vertical takeoff, horizontal landing, suborbital launch platform designed to provide space tourists, scientists and technology developers with the launch capabilities they want, when they want it and for a price they can afford. As compared to orbital space vehicles, the Hermes spacecraft is immensely easier and less costly to develop because it is not required to overcome the technical difficulties of achieving and returning from orbital velocities (~17,500 mph), and yet it can still meet the desire of the customer to reach the space environment, and for much less cost.

Hermes Rocket Specifications & Capabilities

  • Crew: 2
  • Passengers: 4
  • Propulsion: Hybrid Rocket Motors
  • Flight Profile: VTHL (Vertical Takeoff, Horizontal Landing)
  • Maximum Altitude: 328,000+ ft (62 mi | 100 km)
  • Maximum Velocity: Mach 3+ (2,300 mph | 3,700 kph)
  • Payload: Human, Scientific, Educational, Technology
  • Spacecraft design based on proven and tested NASA technology
  • Commoditized rocket propulsion system designed to allow safer, lower cost, launch-on-demand capability
  • Avionics system using commercially available, “off-the-shelf” technology
  • Encrypted “remote” cockpit system allows spacecraft to be controlled remotely
  • Semi-spacewalk capability

A Synergistic Development Program

At STAR Systems our primary focus is the synergistic development of the Hermes spacecraft and its constituent structural, propulsion, avionics and life support subsystems. We say “synergistic development” because the Hermes is not “break-through” technology. We are not inventing anything fundamentally new. Rather, the Hermes is a product of over 60 years of aerospace technology research and development already existing in an “off-the-shelf” capacity and modernized with current materials science. Hence we are able to lower the costs associated with research and development to primarily just development by synergizing what has already been done in the past into a profitable, commercial product incorporating new ideas for creating value for our customers. This development involves the physical fabrication and manufacture of the Hermes vehicle and its prototype constituent subsystems, with costs accounting for manufacturing materials, recurring equipment and other associated costs needed to produce, test and certify the vehicle. Such synergistic development, of course, requires an in-depth study of how the space industry has developed over its 60 year history, in addition to an entrepreneurial “eye” for identifying which concepts from the past hold the most practical potential for commercial application, as well as having the technical and fabrication skills necessary to understand how it can be made feasible and affordable using “off-the-shelf” technology.