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Europe’s IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is completing a series of descent and landing tests allowing the mission to move ahead towards launch in 2014. The parachute qualification test was completed in June 2012, verifying the behaviour of the complex subsystem, including its multiple stages.
This video shows a second prototype integrating the subsystem, dropped from a plane at an altitude of 5.7 km and landing safely in the Arizona desert.