Measuring ESA’s IXV spaceplane


ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, IXV, is tilted and turned along and around all three axes at ESA’s Technical Centre, ESTEC, in the Netherlands to measure its centre of gravity and moments of inertia, because both influence its flying characteristics.

To be launched on Vega in early November 2014, IXV will flight-test the technologies and critical systems for Europe’s future automated reentry vehicles returning from low orbit.

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  1. I've still no clue what this thing is good for other than keeping Italian workers occuppied for Vega and Thales…
    I mean seriously, there's currently not a single project on the horizon that could make use of this. Heck, ESA will not even have a launcher able to carry a manned capsle to LEO when they build Ariane 6 and discard no. 5

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