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Photos: Europe's IXV Reusable Space Plane Prototype

IXV Mission Profile

ESA–J. Huart

The European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) is scheduled to launch atop a Vega rocket on Feb. 11, 2015, from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. This IXV mission will test cutting-edge technology.

The IXV mission launches on a Vega rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, into a semi-equatorial path, then lands in the Pacific Ocean for recovery by ship, followed by post-flight analysis. The main flight phases consist of ascent, separation, ballistic, reentry, descent and splashdown.

Vega VV04 Rocket Carrying IXV Space Place Lifts Off

ESA/M. Pedoussaut

A Vega VV04 rocket carrying ESA's experimental spaceplane, IXV, lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on Feb. 11, 2015.

IXV Mission Celebration

ESA

ESA personnel at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, applaud the news that the IXV reusable space plane prototype has splashed down successfully in the Pacific Ocean following its mission on Feb. 11, 2015. [Read full story.]

European Space Agency's IXV Space Plane Prototype Mission Success

ESA

European Space Agency's IXV Space Plane Prototype completed its suborbital flight and was recovered from the Pacific Ocean on Feb. 11, 2015. Here, ESA personnel celebrate at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (left). [Read full story.]

Vega VV04 Rocket Launches ESA's IXV

Arianespace (via Twitter as @Arianespace)

Arianespace's newest launcher family member, Vega, successfully deploys ESA's IXV spaceplane prototype on VV04, Feb. 11, 2015. [Read full story.]

Vega VV04 Rocket Launches ESA's IXV (Distant View)

Arianespace (via Twitter as @Arianespace)

Arianespace's newest launcher family member, Vega, successfully deploys ESA's IXV spaceplane prototype on VV04, Feb. 11, 2015. [Read full story.]

IXV Liftoff

ESA

The European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) launched to space atop a Vega launcher on its 100 minute test at 8:40 a.m. EST (1340 GMT) on Feb. 11, 2015.

Vega and IXV in Flight

ESA

The Vega launcher burns bright, taking the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) to space for its test on Feb. 11, 2015.

IXV on Launch Pad

Arianespace Twitter

The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) sits atop a Vega launcher before launch on Feb. 11, 2015.

Stages of the IXV Mission

ESA/J. Huart, 2014

An artist's rendering shows the stages of flight for Europe's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV). Image released June 23, 2014.

IXV Flight Profile

ESA

The IXV mission launches on a Vega rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, into a semi-equatorial path, then lands in the Pacific Ocean for recovery by ship and post-flight analysis. The main flight phases consist of: ascent, separation, ballistic, reentry, descent and splashdown. Image released Feb. 3, 2015.

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