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.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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