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Europe has successfully drop tested its own experimental re-entry vehicle.
The full-scale Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) prototype was released from an altitude of 3000 m by a helicopter, falling to gain speed to mimic a space mission before parachute deployment. The parachute slowed IXV for a safe splashdown in the sea at a speed below 7 m/s. This last step in a series of tests shows that IXV can be recovered safely after its mission into space.