Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD)

Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD)

News: Recently, The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully carried out the landing experiment of the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD).

What are Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV)?
 RLV means a launch vehicle that is designed to return to Earth substantially intact and therefore may be launched more than one time.
 An RLV may also contain stages that may be recovered by a launch operator for future use in the operation of a substantially similar launch vehicle.
 High costs that accrue due to space exploration, a reusable launch vehicle is considered a low-cost, reliable, and on-demand mode of accessing space.

What is RLV-TD?
 RLV-TD is part of the efforts of ISRO at developing essential technologies for a fully reusable launch vehicle to enable low-cost access to space.
 The RLV-TD will be used to develop technologies like hypersonic flight (HEX), autonomous landing (LEX), return flight experiment (REX), powered cruise flight, and Scramjet Propulsion Experiment (SPEX).
 In the future, this vehicle will be scaled up to become the first stage of India’s reusable two-stage orbital (TSTO) launch vehicle.

How many RLV experiments have so far been carried by India?
 The first RLV experiment was done in 2016. ISRO officials described it as a “baby step” in the development of an RLV.
 The second RLV test conducted recently involved a Chinook Helicopter of the Indian Air Force lifting the RLV LEX to a height of 4.5 km and releasing the RLV, based on a command from the Mission Management Computer.
 After midair release, the RLV carried out an autonomous landing “under the exact conditions of a Space Reentry vehicle’s landing — high speed, unmanned, precise landing from the same return path — as if the vehicle arrived from space. 

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