The European Space Agency (ESA) and Thales Alenia Space have set the agreement for the authorization to proceed with the development of the atmospheric reentry demonstrator IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle).
The IXV project is part of the ESA programme FLPP (Future Launchers Preparatory Programme). The objective of the IXV is to develop a European autonomous atmospheric reentry system, characterized by high aerodynamic performance due to its lifting body shape, with a highly-performing control system based on propulsion and aerodynamic surfaces, and advanced thermal protections for atmospheric reentry.
Thales Alenia Space will be responsible of the design consolidation, development and integration of the vehicle and will lead a consortium formed by major European industries and integrated with research centers and universities. The vehicle delivery to ESA is planned by the end of 2012.
â€œThis new project entrusted by ESA to Thales Alenia Space â€“ noted Luigi Maria Quaglino, Thales Alenia Space Senior Vice President for Infrastructures and Transportation â€“ was strongly expected by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and is an important step for future applications. It underlines the recognition of the capability and industrial credibility and professionalism gained by our company in the systems field, particularly in the area of space transportation. The IXV project represents a challenge for its technology and systems aspects that Thales Alenia Space is ready to accept.â€