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ESA to launch €150-mln experimental light-weight spacecraft in Feb. 2015

November 21, 2014, 21:10 UTC+3 PARIS
The agency postponed the launch after experts discovered that the trajectory ESA prepared for the IXV spacecraft was not supported by the Vega carrier and the launch center
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A replica of the ESA IXV space plane

A replica of the ESA IXV space plane

© EPA/BAS CZERWINSKI

PARIS, November 21. /TASS/. The European Space Agency (ESA) together with the French National Center of Space Studies (CNES) plan to launch a light-weighted experimental spacecraft, worth €150 million, on February 11, 2015, French commercial launch service provider Arianespace reported Friday.

Earlier, ESA planned that Intermediate Experimental Vehicle, more commonly known as IXV, will be carried into orbit in November, 2014 by Vega launcher from Guiana Space Center, located near Kourou region in French Guiana.

However, the agency decided to postpone the launch till next year. According to some unofficial sources, French experts have discovered that the trajectory ESA prepared for the IXV spacecraft was not supported by the Vega carrier and the launch center.

A light-weighted space vehicle should be put into 450 kilometers circular orbit. Afterwards, the spacecraft enters terrestrial atmosphere and then emerges into the waters of the Pacific Ocean where it is to be discovered by a searching party.

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