ESA’s mini shuttle is all set to launch its flight and reentry mission. With this development, Europe will set strong foundation for innovative technology that would help future reentry missions for astronauts as well as other spatial bodies.
The test flight is scheduled to be held on February 11. The entire operation would last for about 100 minutes testing the critical systems using 300 embedded sensors.
Following are some of the images of the ESA’s space taxi, as they call it.
1) IXV during integration at Thales Alenia Space
2) IXV during the last preparations
3) Cut open view of Vega VV04 carrying IXV
4) Studded with 300 sensors the prototype IXV left will collect data on craft’s handling and thermodynamics
5) Prototype IXV fairing separation
6) IXV ready for launch
7) IXV installed on its payload adapter
8) Artist’s view of the IXV mission
9) IXV will be launched into a suborbital path by a Vega rocket
10) IXV prototype hoisted onto ship
Source: ESA Space in Images