Science and Exploration

ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle Prepared For Launch

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
January 28, 2015
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ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle Prepared For Launch
IXV Attached To Payload Adapter

ESA’s unmanned spaceplane, IXV, was lifted onto the payload adapter on 26 January 2015 at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The adapter will be used to fix IXV to the Vega rocket.

With hooks and mechanical supports removed on 28 January, IXV is sealed before encapsulation in the fairing.

The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle will be launched into a suborbital trajectory and return to Earth as though from a low-orbit mission. For the first time, it will test and qualify European critical reentry technologies in hypersonic flight, descend by parachute and land in the Pacific Ocean to await recovery and analysis.

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SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.