Europe Sets Its Space Plane For Test Flight
Engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA) are ready to launch a “space plane” which will be used to gather information about the phenomenon of falling of objects back on earth.
The five-meter wingless Wedge-shaped plane is hoped to enable engineers in finding a way out for improvement in future technologies. Europe has the capability of launching satellites, Mars rovers etc., but it can not bring the space powers back – a task which is thought to be made possible with success of its Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV).
While talking to BBC, ESA’s Project manager Giorgio Tumino said:
Europe is excellent at going to orbit; we have all the launchers, for example. We also have great knowhow in operating complex systems in orbit. But where we are a bit behind is in the knowledge of how to come back from orbit. So, if we are to close the circle – go to orbit, stay in orbit, come back from orbit – this third leg we need to master as well as other spacefaring nations.
So the IXV seems a very significant project with which Europe wants to uplift its re-entering technologies to the level of the US and Russia. The unmanned IXV will fly atop a Vega rocket from French Guiana at 1300 GMT.
The aforementioned rocket Vega will propel IXV 450 Km high from where the ESA’s demonstrator will start its descent which will end in the waters of Pacific ocean. The complete test drive will last for approximately 100 minutes.
If we talk about the technological techniques which has been deployed to IXV, flaps and thrusters appear with prime role: they are being used to control the trajectory of the space vehicle. Plus the parachute system will navigate IXV into water while the flotation balls will protect the vehicle from sinking.
The sensors present with the vehicle will feed the data which will later be used as a research material. But for this, scientists need to collect all the information while vehicle is still in the air. The real success for today’s project lies in the data collection. Once the data has been collected, ESA will be contented if something goes wrong with the craft then.
If Europe successfully achieves its objective, it will be a major breakthrough for its future space-technologies.
Abubaker Zahoor writes on diverse topics with special interest in innovations, tech-ethics, and inter-and intra- organizational business relationships.