Photos: Europe's IXV Reusable Space Plane Prototype

Crane Lifts IXV Prototype

Neri - Livorno (I)

The recovery ship Nos Aries carefully hoisted the prototype of the suborbital IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle into its container, on June 23, 2014, off the coast of Tuscany, Italy. The practice run took place ahead of the launch of the real spacecraft in November.

Balloons Keep IXV Prototype Afloat

Neri - Livorno (I)

On the June 23, 2014, a prototype of the suborbital IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle floated for recovery off the coast of Tuscany, Italy, during a practice run for the launch of the real spacecraft in November. Image released June 24, 2014.

IXV Drop Test Mountains 2013

ESA

On June 19, 2013, the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle successfully completed the descent and landing system test at the Poligono Interforze Salto di Quirra off the east coast of Sardinia in Italy. A helicopter dropped the full-scale Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) prototype from an altitude of 9800 feet (3000 m), falling to gather speed to mimic a space mission before parachute deployment. The parachutes slowed IXV for a safe splashdown in the sea at a speed below 7 m/s.

Europe Aims For Re-entry Spacecraft

ESA

A European Vega rocket will carry ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle into space. The vehicle will then return to Earth to test a range of enabling systems and technologies for atmospheric re-entry.

Successful Splashdown for the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV)

ESA/CIRA

On June 19, 2013 the IXV Descent and Landing System Test was successfully performed off the east coast of Sardinia, Italy, at the Poligono Interforze Salto di Quirra.

Europe's IXV Spacecraft Drop Test

ESA

On June 19, 2013, the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle successfully completed the descent and landing system test at the Poligono Interforze Salto di Quirra off the east coast of Sardinia in Italy.

Intermediate Experimental Vehicle

ESA

European Space Agency’s Intermediate Experimental Vehicle, a robotic space plane prototype, is shown under construction.

Surviving as a Man-Made Meteor: ESA\'s IXV Spacecraft

ESA\'s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle will test new systems and technologies for atmospheric re-entry.

ESA's IXV Reentry Vehicle

ESA-J. Huart, 2012

The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) project objectives tackle the basic European needs for reentry from LEO, consolidating the knowledge necessary for the development of any future European reentry system while allowing risk limitation. This image was released Nov. 21, 2012.

Pride Mission

ESA-J. Huart, 2012

ESA activities aiming to improve European know-how in critical reentry technologies domain began with the Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IXV). As a follow-up mission, PRIDE is proposed. It will focus on system and technology performance verification in all flight conditions (i.e. hypersonic, supersonic, transonic, subsonic). This will be achieved through an end-to-end European orbital mission with landing on a conventional runway. This image was released Nov. 21, 2012.

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