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).