Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Launch of European Space Plane Set for February 11, 2015

The IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is being prepared for launch at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG - P.Baudon

The European Space Agency (ESA) together with the French National Center of Space Studies (CNES) plan to launch a light-weighted experimental spacecraft, worth 150 million euros, on February 11, 2015, French commercial launch service provider Arianespace reported Friday. "Based on joint work by ESA and CNES, the date for the IXV mission to be launched by Vega has been set for February 11, 2015. Arianespace will resume launch preparations in early 2015," the company said in a statement.

Earlier, ESA planned that Intermediate Experimental Vehicle, more commonly known as IXV, will be carried into orbit in November, 2014 by Vega launcher from Guiana Space Center, located near Kourou region in French Guiana.

The IXV is the testbed for a reusable vehicle that may one day be able to land on a conventional runway on Earth after a mission to space.

This could be useful for bringing astronauts back from the International Space Station (ISS).

The IXV vehicle is being prepared for launch at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

IXV will be launched 320 km into space on top of a Vega rocket, climbing up to 420 km before beginning a long glide back through the atmosphere. In the process, IXV will gather data on reentry conditions to help guide the design of future spaceplanes.

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