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Kirk510620 : wired   76

Why Europe's Experimental Spaceship Is Shaped So Weirdly | WIRED
side an atmosphere a little. It’s the first European spacecraft able to pull that off. So think of the weird-looking IXV as a testbed for even weirder spacecraft to come. During yesterday’s flight ESA tested its navigation and control systems, as well as new ceramic composite heat shields, easier to install than the tiles that were always peeling off the space shuttle but still able to withstand (ideally) the 3,000-degree temperatures of atmospheric reentry. Whatever ESA’s scientists learn might help them build a space plane, and it might also lead to reusable rockets or robotic spacecraft. “It’s a giant leap for the Europeans in the sense that they’ll have a reentry vehicle,” Cutler says. As a step toward that goal, the IXV works just right. 1UPDATE: 4:05 p.m. ET 2/13/15 This post has been updated to correctly spell Pier Michele Roviera’s surname.
esa  space  innovation  spaceshuttle  wired  tech 
march 2015 by Kirk510620

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