The ESA will be testing their latest project, the Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IXV) in November.  The IXV will leave from French Guiana, head eastward and land in the Pacific Ocean where it will be recovered by a ship.


This mission will provide a unique opportunity to test many different aspects of the launch, as well as the craft’s entry.  Jose Longo, the head of aerothermodynamics, said this about the test launch:


“This is the first flight demonstration of features such as highly advanced thermal structures: thrusters and flaps that are part of the control system, and the 300 sensors and infrared camera to map the heating all along the spacecraft from the nose to the flaps. These things just cannot be tested in the same way in laboratories.”


The craft will be monitored throughout its entire journey, and you can learn more by watching this video:

Visit the ESA’s website to learn more about this mission as well as see some pictures of the craft.