Is Europe's Space Program Lost In Space?

Led by France, Europe has proudly clung to the hope of launching its own manned space program, independent of those of the U.S. and Russia. The centerpiece was to be a manned space shuttle, Hermes, due to fly in the year 2002. But severe budget realities have brought that lofty ambition down to earth. In mid-July, France shocked its allies with a demand that the European Space Agency's annual budget growth over the next several years be limited to no more than 3%. That followed earlier cuts in ESA programs resulting from the high cost of German reunification.

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