It seems Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is leaving no stone unturned in its objective of becoming the world’s leading space body.
ISRO is on course of launching its ‘maiden’ Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) later this month.
This comes just days after after achieving the landmark own GPS system
An artist’s impression of the ISRO RLV. ISRO
The launch at present is tentatively scheduled for May 23, but can be pushed back. The final decision on this would be taken during the Mission Readiness Review (MRR) committee meeting on May 11. With RLV-TD, ISRO scientists are trying to conquer a new technology. ISRO has been keeping a low profile on May 23rd’s launch as they are now entering a new and unknown space.
The Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) is a fully re-usable vehicle that can launch satellites into orbit around Earth and then re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
If successful, this would make space missions economically viable and would be a major breakthrough in space exploration and space utilisation.
Explaining how this launch would work, ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar, in an recent annual lecture, said:
Though it must be noted that the first experimental flight, at present, doesn’t have a landing option.
Once the vehicle re-enter’s Earth’s atmosphere, it will drop into the sea.
Though the vehicle cannot be retrieved, the RLV-TD experiment will 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. SpaceX’s Elon Musk is also conducting a similar experiment. Recently he even tasted success when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket landed
back successfully on a drone ship.