Europe's Mini-Space Shuttle Returns
On Wednesday February 11, 2015 the European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle launched off of a Vega Rocket from South America around 13:40 GMT and flew east around the Earth before coming now near the Galapagos Islands at around 15:20 GMT that same day. This launch was to test how objects, after being launched into space, fall back to Earth.
The director general of the European Space Agency mentioned how the test was a success and how the next step is to analyze the data that was received. The purpose of studying how objects fall back into our atmosphere is critical in creating reusable spacecrafts which saves both money and time. The Europeans already have the technology and the expertise when it comes to getting a rocket into orbit but not a lot when it comes to bringing it down safely and that is what is being researched here.
The ultimate goal for this research is to be able to create a craft that would be able to go up and do a number of things in space such as deliver a payload, fix satellites, or maybe even have some civilian applications, before ultimately returning safely to Earth, ideally to return on a runway.
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31421200 also a good video is found here.. http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2015/feb/11/reusable-rocket-french-guiana-video
February 13, 2015