The European Space Agency (ESA) have signed two key contracts with NGL Prime S.p.A. of Italy, one for the definition of launcher system concepts for the European Next Generation Launcher and the other for the development of a European Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV).
The experimental lifting body vehicle will launch on the new Vega launcher from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The debut flight is set for 2010.
**15 specially acquired technical PDFs on the IXV vehicle are available to download on L2 **
Both contracts are part of ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP), which aim is to develop and demonstrate the technologies for a Next Generation Launcher (NGL) for Europe, which is expected to become operational after 2020. A secondary aim is to enhance the reliability and competitiveness of European launchers, including those operational today.
The contracts have a total value of more than 20 million euros and integrate key European competences and expertise in launcher and re-entry systems from 43 industrial and research organisations from 11 ESA member states.
In parallel, the IXV will demonstrate Europe’s advanced re-entry technologies and integrated system design capabilities. The IXV reference mission calls for a lift off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, aboard a Vega launch vehicle, followed by a fully automatically controlled re-entry, descent and landing in the Pacific Ocean.