Europe's first experimental space plane has blasted off from its launch pad in French Guiana, carrying hopes it will pave the way towards the continent's first reusable space transportation systems. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (No reporter narration) The launch of Europe's experimental spaceplane was delayed for about an hour on Wednesday due to an unspecified problem at the European Space Agency's (ESA) spaceport in French Guiana, but took off successfully when engineers gave the all-clear. The European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), which is the size of a car, cost around 150 million euros ($169.70 million) in design, development and related ground support. The ESA hopes will pave the way towards the continent's first reusable space transportation systems. This IXV mission will test cutting-edge system and technology aspects to provide Europe with an independent reentry capability, and a building block for reusable space transportation systems. It will validate designs for lifting-bodies, incorporating both the simplicity of capsules and the performance of winged vehicles, with high controllability and maneuverability for precision landing.