QinetiQ technology on board first European space taxi
QinetiQ technology will be responsible for guiding the European Space Agency’s IXV ‘space taxi’ safely back to earth on its maiden test flight, due for launch on 11 February 2015.
This powerful computer supplies the spacecraft with the intelligence necessary for a safe return flight, calculating the optimum angle for re-entering the atmosphere and making a controlled landing possible.
Koen Puimège, business development manager for QinetiQ’s space business, said: “We were selected thanks to our strong track record of pioneering roles in the development of similar systems. This project is an exciting opportunity to transfer our existing expertise in onboard computers for high-reliable autonomous satellites into the domain of high-reliable autonomous re-entry vehicles. It’s a fascinating emerging market that challenges today’s technology.
“The delivery of this contract further strengthens our position as a global supplier of important control systems for critical space applications.”
The IXV ‘space taxi’ is the first European initiative by the European Space Agency (ESA) to build a smaller alternative to the American Space Shuttle. The smaller format means lower costs linked to its construction and launch, while the controlled return to Earth, enabled by QinetiQ’s powerful and reliable system, means the spacecraft can be re-used.
IXV could be a suitable alternative to expensive space missions in the future, transporting cargo as well as astronauts into space and back again more economically. Possible future uses include increasing the lifespan of existing satellites, monitoring the Earth, testing new technologies and performing fundamental research in space.
The spacecraft is scheduled for launch from Kourou in French Guiana on 11 February and demonstrate its new technologies before parachuting into the sea, where it will float until a boat picks it up. In a follow-on programme the craft will land on an airfield landing strip.
QinetiQ has been commissioned for the ESA project by the Italian aerospace company Thales Alenia Space and Alenia-Aermacchi.
Notes for Editors:
- A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its world class knowledge, research and innovation to provide high-end technical expertise and advice, to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ's unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments as well as other international customers in targeted sectors.
- Follow us on twitter @QinetiQ
- Visit our blog www.QinetiQ/news-and-events.com
For further information, please contact
QinetiQ Press Office on Tel: +44 (0) 1252 39 3500
QinetiQ to lead development of Hypersat’s next generation hyperspectral satellites, due for launch by Virgin Orbit in 2023
21 Apr 2021
Progressive investment sets new standard in Training, Test and Evaluation
19 Apr 2021
QinetiQ Group plc Trading Update
14 Apr 2021
ETPS’s comprehensive training options for Flight Test professionals
07 Apr 2021
UK MOD Front Line Commands set to benefit from new decision support capability that replaces former Niteworks service
06 Apr 2021