Continuing with its impressive demonstration of how low-cost, robust space technology could help us a long way in realising our future space exploration ambitions, ISRO today successfully accomplished its technology demonstrator mission of a reusable launch vehicle.
Mission accomplished successfully,
an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) spokesman told PTI, soon after RLV-TD HEX-01 was flight tested with the take off at 7 am today.
Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration Program or RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realizing a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.
A Winged Reusable Launch Vehicle technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) has been configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, namely, hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.
This is the first time ISRO has launched a winged flight vehicle, which glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 kms from the coast. Known as hypersonic flight experiment, it was about 10 minutes mission from liftoff to splashdown.
However, ISRO’s successful mission isn’t the only one to have achieved this feat. Amazon-owned Blue origins, which is a private space company, has done this successfully — thrice to be precise, — and that too with real rockets. On the other hand, the RLV-TD mission which ISRO undertook today, is a scaled-down model of the original reusable launch vehicle.
However, similar to ISRO’s mission, that and SpaceX’s falcon — all of these have been tested without humans in them.
ISRO says, that these reusable technologies will be developed in phases through a series of experimental flights. The first in the series of experimental flights is the hypersonic flight experiment (HEX) followed by the landing experiment (LEX), return flight experiment (REX) and scramjet propulsion experiment (SPEX).