A View from Brittany Sauser
Europe's Re-Entry Vehicle In Action
ESA is building a spacecraft that can safely reenter earth’s atmosphere.
In a quest to become a one of the top space players, the European Space Agency is developing a vehicle to test new reentry technologies–systems that will allow a safe return to Earth from orbit.
The European spacecraft, called the Intermediate eXperiment Vehicle or IXV, has a unique aeroshape design, advanced thermal protection, and new guidance, navigation and control systems. It is expected to launch in 2012. The video below describes the project and you can read more technical details here.