Next month’s flight of the light-lift Vega vehicle in Arianespace’s launcher family will involve a suborbital trajectory with an unmanned European spaceplane. The highly unusual mission is scheduled to begin in French Guiana on February 11, 2015 and end with the payload’s Pacific Ocean splashdown.
Vega will lift the European Space Agency’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), which was developed to test re-entry technologies in developing systems and advanced technologies for future transportation systems.
IXV is currently in the S5B hall of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation building, where the spaceplane has been fitted with its functional batteries and been switched on. In late January it will be fueled with its hydrazine maneuvering propellant.