September 20, 2019

European space plane flies around the world on test flight

February 11, 2015

Europe launched a sleek space plane more than 250 miles above Earth on Wednesday, testing its maneuverability, on-board guidance systems, and a next-generation heat shield as the experimental vehicle glided through the atmosphere toward a pinpoint splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Flight timeline for ESA’s re-entry demonstrator

February 11, 2015

An automobile-sized prototype space plane is ready for an around-the-world test flight to demonstrate technologies to fly on a future orbital space plane, reusable rocket stages, and interplanetary sample return probes. Follow the 102-minute flight with this timeline.

Live coverage: European mini-shuttle back on Earth

February 10, 2015

A European re-entry demonstrator launched aboard a solid-fueled Vega rocket at 1340 GMT (8:40 a.m. EST) from French Guiana, kicking off a whirlwind 102-minute around-the-world test flight to validate technologies that could be used on future reusable launchers and spaceships.

Photos: ESA re-entry testbed prepared for liftoff

February 3, 2015

Engineers have put the finishing touches on a prototype spaceship representing a leap in European space technology, aiming for liftoff Feb. 11 for a flight 260 miles into space and back to Earth for a pinpoint splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Launch campaign resumes for ESA space plane

January 13, 2015

Engineers are resuming preparations to launch an experimental European re-entry test vehicle on a Vega rocket Feb. 11 after a two-month delay ordered by safety authorities to analyze risks posed to the public by the booster’s unique trajectory after liftoff from French Guiana.

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