Enabling & Support

Rehearsing IXV recovery

24/06/2014 2330 views
ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Transportation / Highlights

On 23 June, the ship and crew aiming to recover Europe’s unmanned IXV spacecraft in November had a practice run off the coast of Tuscany, Italy.

They retrieved a prototype of the suborbital IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, the same model flown last year in a splashdown test off the east coast of Sardinia.

A crane dropped the two-tonne vehicle into the water for the crew to practise the tricky manoeuvres they will use when the real thing splashes down in the Pacific Ocean later this year. The rehearsal even allowed for an upside-down splashdown.

A crew from the Italian company NERI were controlling the recovery ship Nos Aries while the prototype was carefully hoisted aboard.

  • Enabling & Support

    Balloons keep IXV prototype afloat

    24/06/2014 1639 views 10 likes
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    Balloons keep IXV afloat
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    Ship approaches IXV prototype

    24/06/2014 475 views 2 likes
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    Ship approaches IXV prototype
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    Retrieving the IXV prototype

    24/06/2014 362 views 2 likes
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    Retrieving the IXV prototype
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    Crane lifts IXV prototype

    24/06/2014 587 views 4 likes
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    Crane lifts IXV prototype
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    Closeup of IXV prototype being hoisted aboard

    24/06/2014 754 views 3 likes
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    Closeup of IXV prototype being hoisted aboard
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    Prototype hoisted aboard

    24/06/2014 1599 views 16 likes
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    Prototype hoisted aboard
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    Looking up at hoisted IXV prototype

    24/06/2014 848 views 8 likes
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    Looking up at hoisted IXV prototype
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    IXV prototype is hoisted

    24/06/2014 1356 views 7 likes
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    IXV prototype is hoisted
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    IXV prototype lowered onto deck

    24/06/2014 811 views 3 likes
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    IXV prototype lowered onto deck
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    Upside-down splashdown for IXV prototype

    24/06/2014 770 views 4 likes
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    Upside-down splashdown for IXV prototype
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    IXV prototype hoisted onto ship

    24/06/2014 1213 views 6 likes
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    Nominal recovery
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    All eyes on IXV prototype recovery

    24/06/2014 512 views 2 likes
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    All eyes on IXV prototype recovery
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    Hydrazine rinsing exercise

    24/06/2014 478 views 4 likes
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    Hydrazine rinsing exercise
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    IXV prototype on deck

    24/06/2014 584 views 5 likes
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    IXV prototype on deck
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    IXV awaits inspection on Nos Aries deck

    24/06/2014 2067 views 6 likes
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    IXV awaits inspection on Nos Aries deck