Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ESA reentry vehicle on track for flight in 2013

Credit: ESA
 Europe’s ambition for a spacecraft to return autonomously from low orbit is a cornerstone for a wide range of space applications, including space transportation, exploration and robotic servicing of space infrastructure.
This goal will be achieved with IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, planned for launch in 2013.

Launched into a suborbital trajectory on ESA’s small Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, IXV will return to Earth as if from a low-orbit mission, to test and qualify new European critical reentry technologies such as advanced ceramic and ablative thermal protection.

ESA Portal - ESA reentry vehicle on track for flight in 2013