On 11th February 2015, the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully completed the fourth Vega launch from Kourou, carrying the IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle) demonstrator. From an altitude of 420 kilometers, this vehicle made a controlled re-entry – from Mach 25 to Mach 2 – using aerodynamic control surfaces, before being recovered in the Pacific Ocean. This was a first for Europe.
Since 2008, following the Pré-X program run by the French space agency (CNES), Dassault Aviation has participated in this ESA program under the project management of Thales Alenia Space Italy and in cooperation with other industrial partners. The company is heavily involved in the shape design, aero/thermodynamics and in-flight experimentation of the IXV.
Analysis of the results of the flight by this demonstrator will consolidate European know-how in the field of controlled re-entry and minimize the risks involved in the development of a future reusable orbital return vehicle.
With the IXV, Dassault Aviation is continuing its R&D activities on the reuse of aerospace vehicles. Following on from the IXV, Dassault Aviation is supporting the Pride (Program for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator in Europe) project initiated by ESA.
About Dassault Aviation
With over 8,000 military and civil aircraft delivered to 90 countries over the last 60 years, logging some 28 million hours in flight, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter to the high-end Falcon family of business jets and military drones. Dassault Aviation posted sales of 4.59 billion euros in 2013, and has nearly 11,600 employees.
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