The launch of ESA's IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle on
Europe's new Vega rocket is now in detailed planning, a major step
towards the craft's flight in 2014. After launch into a suborbital
trajectory from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, IXV will
return to Earth as if from a low-orbit mission, to test and qualify
new critical technologies for future reentry vehicles.
Nestled among the multi-million-dollar business jets and high-performance turboprops at the NBAA static display in Las Vegas in October was something a little unusual... a motorglider. Alexander Papenberg, CEO of Stemme USA, was showing off the Stemme S10-VT at NBAA for a simple reason. "Lots of corporate pilots fly from A to B IFR during the workday, and on weekends they want to fly a real airplane. They come here, they look at it, and fall in love."