Europe’s IXV spaceplane is welcomed in French Guiana for its Vega launch
Activities for the next flight of Arianespace’s light-lift Vega are now fully underway following delivery of the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) payload to French Guiana – joining the mission’s launcher, which also is advancing in its preparations.
The IXV spaceplane – produced by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency (ESA) – was transported by an Antonov cargo aircraft to Félix Eboué International Airport, located near French Guiana’s capital city of Cayenne. Following the arrival, it was unloaded this morning just after dawn for transfer by road to the Spaceport.
Scheduled for a mid-November liftoff with its Vega launcher, IXV is an atmospheric reentry demonstrator that is designed to flight test technologies and critical systems for Europe’s future automated reentry systems as they return from low Earth orbit.
The research and industrial community will have an opportunity to use the data collected by IXV for progress in atmospheric reentry, oriented towards transportation systems with applications in exploration, science, Earth observation, microgravity and clean space.
November’s Vega mission with IXV is designated Flight VV04 in Arianespace’s numbering system, signifying the launcher’s fourth mission to be performed from the Spaceport. It also will mark Vega’s second flight within the ESA-managed VERTA (Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment) program to showcase this vehicle’s flexibility.