India Moves Closer to Own Reusable Rocket with ISRO’s Latest Drop Test

April 3, 2023
1 min read
Source - ISRO

On Sunday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched and landed a reusable launch vehicle. The Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Experiment (RLV LEX) test mission was dropped from a helicopter and later managed to land safely using its wheels. The test was conducted at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Chitradurga, Karnataka, from 7.10 am to 7.40 am on April 2, 2023.

The RLV-LEX was transported by a Chinook helicopter by the Indian Air Force, and the landing was executed horizontally. The RLV LEX, is classified as a space plane and looks a lot like the US’s Space Shuttle and Russia’s Buran reusable vehicle.

The spacecraft was carried by a Chinook helicopter and was brought to an altitude of 4.6 kilometres (2.85 miles) before being dropped mid-air. Along with ISRO and the Air Force, several other entities contributed to this test. The RLV made use of many of ISRO’s cutting-edge technologies, including domestically developed landing gear, aerofoil honeycomb fins, a braking parachute system, a pseudolite (pseudo-satellite) system, and India’s own satellite navigation system, Navigation with Indian Constellation, or NavIC.

RLV LEX is at an initial experimental stage and has yet to reach orbit. In a 2016 test, the vehicle was released at an altitude of 65km (40.3 miles) and successfully demonstrated hypersonic flight capabilities. ISRO expects that the vehicle will one day launch payloads into orbit for just $4,000/kg. The development of a functional, reusable launch vehicle (RLV) will manage to bring down costs significantly.

Rahul Somvanshi

Rahul, possessing a profound background in the creative industry, illuminates the unspoken, often confronting revelations and unpleasant subjects, navigating their complexities with a discerning eye. He perpetually questions, explores, and unveils the multifaceted impacts of change and transformation in our global landscape. As an experienced filmmaker and writer, he intricately delves into the realms of sustainability, design, flora and fauna, health, science and technology, mobility, and space, ceaselessly investigating the practical applications and transformative potentials of burgeoning developments.

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