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.