Like Superman: ESA's IXV Spaceplane Makes Successful Research Flight

AND IT’S OFF: A Vega launch vehicle lofts ESA’s IXV spaceplane to its suborbital mission. Photo Credit: ESA–S. Corvaja

It wasn’t Superman, but a spaceplane; however, it sure appeared to travel “faster than a speeding bullet,” as it cleared the pad in four seconds.

At 13:40 GMT (8:40 EST) today, the flight of […]

'Ready to Fly': Europe's IXV Spaceplane Geared Up for Feb. 11 Launch

Fueling IXV: “The IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is being prepared for launch at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. IXV will be launched 320 km into space on top of a Vega rocket, climbing up to 420 km before beginning a long glide back through the atmosphere. In the process, IXV will gather […]

ESA's IXV Spaceplane Readied for November Flight, While US Spaceplanes Pass Milestones

From the European Space Agency (ESA): “[The IXV] will be launched by ESA in 2014 on Vega, Europe’s new small launcher, into a suborbital path, from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. After being launched into space, IXV will return to Earth as if from a low-orbit mission, testing brand-new European atmospheric reentry technologies […]

The Future That Wasn't: The Hermes Spaceplane

Hermes, Europe’s spaceplane, is depicted coasting in orbit in an artist’s rendering. Image Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)

The prose in the 1986 Aerospatiale advertisement was breathless: “10 years old, and still 20 years ahead,” it started. The ad continued, “At Aerospatiale, addressing the exciting aerospace challenges of tomorrow means capitalizing on the […]