The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle will be launched from Kourou in French Guiana on 11 February 2015 into a suborbital trajectory and return to Earth as though from a low-orbit mission. For the first time, it will test and qualify European critical reentry technologies in hypersonic flight, descend by parachute and land in the Pacific Ocean to await recovery and analysis.
IXV mission engineers on the Nos Aries boat will recover ESA’s unmanned IXV spaceplane after its splashdown.
The ship will reach its destination four days before the flight, slightly north of the equator, on a circle 25 km from the target landing spot.
The antenna and telemetry station on the Nos Aries will receive the readings from IXV’s 300 sensors during descent and then pick up the beacon signals to pinpoint the craft in the water.
For more information, visit: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Launchers/IXV/Setting_sail_for_ESA_spaceplane_recovery