After successfully completing its 100-minute, remotely operated ride, the European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) was lifted aboard the Nos Aries, ESA's recovery ship, as we can see in this photo above released by the space agency today.

During its fiery atmospheric reentry the 5-metre-long, two-tonne craft decelerated from hypersonic to supersonic speed, to an entry speed of 7.5 km/s at an altitude of 120 km. And all this left well observable marks on the vehicle:


IXV's glide through the atmosphere went absolutely fine, its main parachute deployed according to the plans, also all the floatation devices after the safe splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

[Tommaso Javidi/ESA]

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