PRIDE-ISV: Miniature unmanned robotic space shuttle all set to shoot into orbit by the end of this decade
By the end of this decade we could be seeing a European-built robot space plane taking the earth’s orbit. The unmanned Innovative Space Vehicle (ISV) will be a small, compact space plane would be able to carry payload in its multi-purpose cargo bay and also perform operations like monitoring of Earth’s service satellites. PRIDE (the Program for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator in Europe) is looking for funding to make this ISV project a reality. PRIDE-ISV would take off from Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana on a Arianespace Vega rocket which will take it to the 434-mile circular polar orbit.
According to Giorgio Tumino, IXV program manager:
We started from our current IXV but went from suborbital to orbital and modular payloads and a multipurpose cargo bay for different orbital applications. The idea is to have a small system, which is affordable to be refurbished and can use the smallest launcher, to have a cost-effective scenario. We have to think whether we have fully deployed wings or foldable, it’s a trade-off against cost.