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Vega launches reentry technology demonstrator
Posted: Thu, Feb 12, 2015, 7:29 AM ET (1229 GMT)
ESA IXV recovery after test flight (ESA) A Vega rocket launched a European Space Agency experimental spaceplane Wednesday, a vehicle that splashed down successfully after a 100-minute flight. The Vega rocket lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 8:40 am EST (10:40 am local time, 1340 GMT) Wednesday after a 40-minute delay due to a telemetry issue. The vehicle placed ESA's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), a small robotic spaceplane, into a suborbital trajectory, reentering and splashing down in the Pacific near the Galapagos Islands an hour and 40 minutes after liftoff. A recovery ship located and broght on board IXV, and ESA declared the flight a success. The flight was designed to test technologies that could be used for future reusable spaceplanes, although ESA's specific plans for such vehicles are uncertain.
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