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Space Science Technology

Europe Set To Build Experimental Transport Spacecraft 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.
coondoggie writes "Looking to take a giant step toward taking part in low Earth orbit transportation, exploration and servicing of orbiting space structures, the European Space Agency today said it would team with Thales Alenia Space Italia to begin building an experimental spacecraft for launch in 2013. 'The 2t lifting body will attain an altitude of around 450 km, allowing it to reach a velocity of 7.5 km/s on entering the atmosphere. It will collect a large amount of data (PDF) during its hypersonic and supersonic flight, while it is being controlled by thrusters and aerodynamic flaps.'"
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Europe Set To Build Experimental Transport Spacecraft

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @09:26PM (#36522710)

    It is cheaper to launch the Greeks into space then it is to bail them out!

  • Europe is going to land their spacecraft in the Pacific?

    I guess no one cares where their space men land anymore.

    • Re:Landing zone (Score:5, Informative)

      by dlgeek (1065796) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @10:45PM (#36523292)
      Yes. You always launch spacecraft towards the east so that you get a velocity boost from the earth's rotation. This is a suborbital flight so it's basically a giant parabolic arc. If you're launching from Europe, it's not going to have time to go almost all the way around the world on an eastward path to hit the atlantic, so that leaves the Pacific.
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Europe is going to land their spacecraft in the Pacific?"

      Why not? It's close to the equator and that's where they are.

      Guadeloupe, Martinique, Cayenne, Saint Barthelemy, Saint-Martin, Bora Bora ,Moorea, Papeete, Tahiti, Guiana, Loyalty, Mayotte, La Reunion, Saint-Pierre, Miquelon, Wallis, Futuna....

      and that's only the French.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Europe is going to land their spacecraft in the Pacific?

      It's harder to miss.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @09:31PM (#36522768)
    (I really hate this morning, let's waste some time on /. Don't say I didn't warn you)

    TFA - contrast (with things taken out of the context)

    This goal will be achieved with IXV, which is the next step from the Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator flight of 1998. More manoeuvrable and able to make precise landings, IXV is the 'intermediate' element of Europe's path to future developments with limited risks.


    The 2 t lifting body will attain an altitude of around 450 km, ...
    The craft will then descend by parachute and land in the Pacific Ocean to await recovery and analysis.

    Precise landing with a parachute, in the biggest ocean, awaiting then the recovery... yeah!

    • by DJRumpy (1345787)

      I wonder how cost effective it is to have an infrastructure built around water recovery when private industry as well as older U.S. shuttles are already working with land based landings. The whole concept just seems dated.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        a Cargo ship with a crane?

      • by IrquiM (471313)
        Probably they do this, because it's cheaper!
      • I would guess that:
        * the US doesn't want to share all the details of shuttle technology.
        * In engineering there is no substitute for doing, you may think you know how something works, but until you build and fly it...
        * The shuttle design is antiquated, there are new materials, IT and functional developments that mean it makes sense to start again.
        * This ship has different requirements to the shuttle it is not trying to be a cargo ship, a space lab, a spy plane, no need for massive cross range, etc
        * By the l

      • by icebrain (944107)

        They're using the water landings for development testing in case something goes wrong. Not many orphanages or schools or playgrounds to crash on in the middle of the ocean.

      • by AmigaMMC (1103025)
        Actually it seems to me that land recovery (aka landing) is a lot more costly as it requires a totally different aerodynamic design and instrumentation, plus training.
    • they arent much bigger than two meters.

    • Precise landing with a parachute, in the biggest ocean, awaiting then the recovery.

      Was done back in the 1960's - all but two of the Apollo missions landed within two nautical miles of the target. The biggest miss was three nautical miles. (See the Entry, Splashdown, and Recovery [] page of Apollo By The Numbers [].)

      I does sound kind of silly on the surface, but it a valuable capability. Precise landing means landing close to the recovery vessel which means faster recovery.

    • If you want to really feel the burn, compare:
      - Current state of the project
      - Total (expected) funding from now until (expected) commercial availability.
      - Who is providing the funding.
      - Expected transit times from, say, London to San Francisco
      - Available transit corridors (hypersonic shock waves have somewhat more energy than supersonic versions. And flying a passenger liner into the ground at mach 5 could take out many, many city blocks.)
      - Susceptibility to fatal mid-air collisions. The wing hitting anythin
  • Typical.... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by deepershade (994429)
    European nations are damned near bankrupt and going through austerity, but the EU demands more money to spend on unaccountable commissioners and MEP's who've never had their expenses signed off, free holidays, and idiotic projects such as arc manche that no one asked for or wants.... and now it seemingly has enough to start a new space project...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The ESA isn't part of the EU, and has non-EU members like Switzerland and Norway. France, Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain contribute the majority of the money themselves and most of the tech is designed and built in their countries.

      • by IrquiM (471313)
        Don't forget Canada! They're also part of ESA
      • by quenda (644621)

        The ESA isn't part of the EU, and has non-EU members like Switzerland and Norway. France, Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain contribute the majority of the money themselves and most of the tech is designed and built in their countries.

        So just the rich EU members? Maybe the more economically troubled EU countries could start their own aerospace venture. They could call it "PIGS in Space".

    • by Zironic (1112127)

      Actually France and Germany, the two biggest economies in Europe are supposed to be just fine and are probably the ones that provide most of the funding to this project. It's just Greece/Spain/Portugal/Ireland etc that nuked their economy.

    • No, some European nations are bankrupt. France, Germany etc are doing very nicely thank you and they are the ones (along with the UK, Netherlands etc) who are providing the money to bail out the other EU nations.
      Besides, it's a stupid argument that because we can't cure poverty we shouldn't have a space program. That's like arguing that because we're starving we shouldn't write poetry, or try a new design of irrigation system, or work on that internal combustion engine we've been tinkering with.

  • As soon as I get the funding and know-how, I'm off!
  • by pnot (96038) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @12:05AM (#36523754)

    Oh good, I see we've got today's mandatory link to Michael Cooney's Layer 8 blog at NetworkWorld, the convenient middleman between Slashdot and news. This time he hasn't even bothered linking to the actual press release he's regurgitating [], as far as I can tell. Still, more hits for NetworkWorld, that's what matters.

    Anyone know if he's done a post on Bitcoin yet?

  • They're teaming up with Italians to build this? If they are anything like the Italians that (supposedly) build trains (Ansaldo), it will be delayed by a decade, fall apart during delivery and be 400% over budget.

    Enjoy the upcoming fun, ESA.

  • Bollocks. That's a FOBS. Wonder who we're going to be pointing it at.
  • It is nice to see that Europe, just like Nasa, is not interested in the advanced technology that is used by the Flying Saucer, which was discovered and patented. It would make all those rockets obsolete and the Propulsion Engineers would have to look for a new job. Better let the Russians or Chinese take over so that you can in the mean time start to compose excuses. You may get a Golden Handshake when you are laid off. Look at .

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. - Han Solo