Programme for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator in Europe
Artist's view of the PRIDE spaceplane servicing a satellite
|Mission type||Reusable spaceship|
The Programme for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator in Europe (PRIDE) is a European Space Agency (ESA) programme that aims to develop a reusable robotic spacecraft. PRIDE was approved at the ESA Ministerial Council in Naples, Italy on November 21, 2012. PRIDE spaceplane will be similar to, but smaller and cheaper than, the Boeing X-37. It will be launched by the Vega light rocket, operate robotically in orbit, and land automatically on a runway.
PRIDE was initially funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) on November 21, 2012, at the ESA Ministerial Council in Naples, Italy. The project was created with the objective of creating a small unmanned spaceplane that was also affordable and reusable. During the initial design stage the vehicle was referred to as PRIDE-ISV. The suffix ISV stands for Innovative Space Vehicle. The PRIDE development team is projected to begin industrial activities in September 2015. In December 2015 a ministerial-level meeting will make a decision regarding the funding for the project as around €200 million is required to finalize the project, excluding launch costs.[needs update] If funding is successful, the first launch is expected around 2020.
The European Space Agency has developed two test vehicles: the Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator (launched in 1998), and the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV, launched on 11 February 2015  and with a second launch planned for 2019 or 2020).
With affordability in mind, the PRIDE spaceplane will be based on technologies developed and tested on the IXV. Final specifications of the spaceplane have not yet been determined; both winged and lifting body variants are under consideration.
The PRIDE spaceplane will be capable of launching a 300 kg payload into orbit. It will be equipped with solar panels, allowing for extended in-orbit operations. Vega will be used as a launch vehicle.
The PRIDE spaceplane will be used as an orbital test platform for re-usable launcher stages, Earth observation, robotic exploration, servicing of orbital infrastructures, and microgravity experiments.
- Boeing X-37 - A comparable United States Air Force spaceplane
- Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator (ARD) - ESA reentry testbed flown in 1998
- Avatar space shuttle (India)
- European eXPErimental Re-entry Testbed (EXPERT) - Research programme developing materials used in IXV
- Future Launchers Preparatory Programme - parent programme for IXV
- Hopper - an earlier ESA project on developing manned spaceplane, cancelled
- Space Rider - orbital spaceplane based on a revised PRIDE design
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- PRIDE mission image