The IXV spaceplane completes a new phase of preparations ahead of its Vega launch
Europe’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) spaceplane has completed another step in its pre-launch checkout process, and is now being readied for fueling ahead of the November 18 flight with Arianespace’s lightweight Vega.
This activity – which included IXV’s fit-check on the adapter that will serve as its interface with the Vega launcher – occurred inside the Spaceport’s S1B clean room facility. Once completed, the spaceplane was moved to the S5B integration and fueling hall of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation building, where its propellant will be loaded.
Built by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency (ESA), IXV is an atmospheric reentry demonstrator 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.