IXV Test: Success!

The Americans did it with the space shuttle. Now we did it with the IXV. On February 11, 2015 a Vega rocket brought the first IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle) to space, where it deorbited and reentered the atmosphere. Starting at hypersonic speeds the IXV slowed down to supersonic speeds, after which it glided through the atmosphere. It was controlled by a pair of flaperon-like tails. Later it deployed parachutes, to slow down further, for a safe landing in the Pacific Ocean. Currently the used IXV module is being transferred to ESTEC in the Netherlands to be analyzed. This first success was only the start of potentially a new generation space shuttle.