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- Title IXV
- Released 16/12/2011 6:25 pm
- Copyright ESA/J.Huart
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.
Part of this goal will be achieved with IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, planned for launch in 2014. Launched into a suborbital trajectory on ESA’s 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.
The 2 t IXV lifting body is about 5 m long, 2.2 m wide and 1.5 m high. Its hypersonic lift-to-drag ratio of 0.7 guarantees the required aerodynamic performance.