Vega flies suborbital re-entry craft successfully

by | Feb 12, 2015 | Add category, Seradata News | 0 comments

Lifting off from the Kourou launch site in French Guiana, a European Vega launch vehicle successfully lofted the 1,844kg experimental re-entry vehicle IXV at 1340 GMT on 11 February on a suborbital trajectory. IXV successfully conducted its planned sub-orbital flight ending with landing  and recovery in the Pacific Ocean after 102 minutes of flight.

The 5m long, cone-shaped IXV craft, whose formal name is Intermediate Experimental Vehicle, separated from Vega at an altitude of 340 km and continued up to a 412 km altitude.  It then re-entered the atmosphere at the hypersonic speed of 7.5km/s, which is equivalent to an orbital re-entry, using trailing edge flaps for control during the atmospheric portion of the flight.

The craft carried temperature and pressure sensors to measure telemetered data to be used by ESA for research into potential designs for orbital and suborbital space planes.  After the flight, the craft deployed floatation devices to keep the craft flowing on the sea-surface. It was successfully recovered by ship. The Italian-led mission cost €170 million with another €40 million for the Vega launch.  The launch had been delayed from November after modifications were made to the flight trajectory to avoid overflying the town of Kourou after objections from the French Space Agency (CNES).

Comment by David Todd: The Vega rocket is reliable with a flight success record of four out of four flights.  It is, however, very expensive. With respect to space plane and re-entry research, IXV appears to be a one-off, as funding for future flights is unlikely to be made available for several years yet.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochinaFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 525virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekInternational Space StationaressoyuzIGTRocket LabBeidouBlue OriginawardsStarlinkspaceSatellite broadcastingrussiaAirbus DSboeingmoonISROOneWebCargo Return VehiclemarsblogresearchspaceshiptwojaxaorionmarsimpactdelayhyperbolaEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegaSESbarack obamaconstellationtourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightIntelsatnode 2fundedRaymond Lygo2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiosuborbitaltestmissiledocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbitinternetLong March 2D/2sts-122SLSNorthrop GrummanChina Manned Space EngineeringAriane 5missile defensenewspapercotsgalileospace tourismflight2010ElectronLong March 4CspaceportExpress AMU 1buildspace stationaltairsoyuz 2-1aProton Minternational astronautical congressshuttlespace shuttlescaled compositesIntelsat 23European Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosnew yorkrulesAriane 6hanleybudgetatvVietnamshenzhoucongressMojaveboldennew shepardLong March 2CInmarsatOrbital ATKcnesiaclunar landerGuiana Space CenterkscApollolawsUS Air ForceSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BKuaizhou 1AILSprotondarpaTalulah RileyElectron KSFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Vega CNorth KoreaeuAstriumSkylonpicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatSSLAprilSNC50thinterviewLong MarchSea LaunchfalconWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor

Stay Informed with Seradata

Stay informed on the latest news, insights, and more from Seradata by signing up for our newsletter.