Test flight of European space plane delayed

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The November suborbital test flight of Europe’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) has been delayed to allow additional preparation.

For this mission, instead of heading north into a polar orbit, as on previous flights, Vega will head eastwards to release the spaceplane into a suborbital path reaching all the way to the Pacific Ocean to test new technologies for future autonomous controlled reentry for return missions. This trajectory is unprecedented for Vega and therefore more information is being generated on the performance of the launch vehicle, should an anomaly occur after liftoff.

ESA will not only be testing the flight characteristics of the space plane, they will be testing their new Vega rocket, which has only been launched a handful of times.


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