A follow-on program called Pride is expected in 2018 with an orbital flight.
NEWS: Secret Military Mini-Shuttle Marks One Year in Orbit
"Its the first time in Europe that we've tried something like this," Provera told Discovery News.
The vehicles are similar, but smaller, than the U.S. military's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicles, one of which is currently in orbit.
"The idea of the two vehicles is very similar, but the size and the costs of the projects are very different," Provera said.
In total, the demonstration programs are expected to cost about $560 million.
The IXV spaceplane weighs about 3,970 pounds (1,800 kilograms) and is about 14.4 feet long (4.4 meters) and about 7.2 feet wide (2.2 meters). It is called a "lifting body" because its shape generates lift without wings.
To control its flight, the IXV will have thrusters and two moveable rear body flaps. By comparison, the X-37B vehicles weigh about 11,000 pounds (almost 5,000 kg) and are about 29 feet (9 meters) long.
Image credit: ESA