ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, IXV, is put to the test at ESA’s technical centre, ESTEC, in the Netherlands. During the actual flight, at an altitude of 320 km, a pyrotechnic device will fire to open a clamp band for springs to push IXV away from the upper stage. This test shows mission planners that it can withstand the mechanical shock of the pyrotechnic detonation, mimicking the moment the craft separates from the Vega rocket.
To be launched on Vega in early November 2014, IXV will test in flight the technologies and critical systems for Europe’s future automated re-entry vehicles returning from low orbit.
Shaking ESA’s IXV spaceplane
Measuring ESA’s IXV spaceplane
IXV ready for liftoff
Replay of Vega liftoff VV04 with IXV
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