Atmospheric reentry is a cornerstone for a wide range of applications in future space transportation, including next-generation launchers, planetary exploration, sample-return missions, space planes and crew and cargo transportation.
This is why ESA is developing the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) to tackle the basic European needs for reentry, consolidating the knowledge necessary for the development of any future European reentry system while allowing risk limitation.
An IXV model just passed its milestone descent and landing test in Sardenia on June 19, proving that it can be recovered safely after its mission into space.
The real vehicle will be launched from Kourou next year on Vega, Europe’s new small launcher, into a suborbital path, testing new European reentry technologies during its hypersonic and supersonic flight phases.
This videos shows the test in Sardenia, it includes interviews with Giorgio Tumino, IXV Programme Manager, ESA and Roberto Angelini, IXV Programme Manager, Thales Alenia Space.