Space plane without wings – level 3
The European Space Agency is getting ready to launch its first wingless space plane on Wednesday.
This test flight is the most crucial yet for the 16 foot 2 ton wingless space plane, which could help pave the way for reusable spacecraft, as it will be blasted into space and then re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Re-entry is a massive challenge for the aerospace industry, and it’s important because Europe currently has no atmospheric re-entry system of its own.
IXV is currently scheduled to be launched into space on the Vega Rocket, from a space pad in France, for the 100 minute long unmanned mission.
If all goes to plan, at about 18 minutes into the flight, the IXV will separate and reach a height of about 450 kilometres before falling and catching valuable data along the way. A parachute will then be deployed and the space plane should land in the Pacific Ocean, where it will be recovered by a ship for analysis.
Difficult words: launch (to send up), crucial (very important), pave the way (to start something), blast (to move with a lot of force), aerospace (the study of flight on Earth and in space), schedule (to plan), valuable (important), deploy (to send out), analysis (studying).
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