2011: High-speed 'space wedge' on track

23 June 2011 Last updated at 09:02 ET By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News, Paris The IXV would be launched atop a Vega rocket The European Space Agency (Esa) is pressing ahead with its re-entry demonstrator known as the IXV, which it expects to launch in 2013. This distinctive wedge-shaped vehicle will be put at an altitude above 400km from where it will begin its flight back to Earth. Its suite of sensors should give engineers new insights into how objects fall back through the atmosphere. Ultimately, the data should inform better spacecraft design. Even probes sent to land on other worlds like Mars should benefit from the knowledge. “IXV is providing Europe with important technologies and a step to more ambitious programmes in the future,” said Antonio Fabrizi, one of Esa’s senior directors. He signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show that will lead to manufacture […] Read More