ESA title
Enabling & Support

IXV spacecraft

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Transportation / IXV

The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is 5 m long, 1.5 m high, and 2.2 m wide – about the size of a car – and weighs almost 2 t.

From the outer to inner layers, IXV comprises:

  • Thermal protective shells of ceramics and ablatives to resist the extreme heat of reentry,
  • Structural panels made of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer to hold inner elements in place during launch and landing,
  • Functional and experimental subsystems equipment.


Components (from front to back):

  • Avionics (power, data handling, telemetry),
  • Parachute (supersonic multi-stage) and floatation devices,
  • Actuators (thrusters and flaps).

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