Flawless First Flight European IXV Space Plane
An experimental vehicle to develop an autonomous European reentry capability for future reusable space transportation (‘space taxi’) has completed its mission. ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle flew a flawless reentry and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean just west of the Galapagos islands.
[wikipedia.org] – Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle
ESA has great plans for this kind of kit. Giorgio Tumino explained the objectives in an interview with Euronews: “When we look at the future possibility to bring back to Earth astronauts, or samples from asteroids, or in the long-term from Mars, this is a technology that is a must to have on board, to be able to come back to Earth.” These kinds of vehicles could also be used to refuel satellites in orbit, bring science experiments back from the ISS, and even deal with space junk.
[euronews.com] – Why is Europe’s IXV spaceplane mission so vital?