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Reusable Launch Vehicle Mission

ISRO successfully carried out the landing experiment of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV-LEX) at Challakere.

  • Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Missionof ISRO aims to develop space planes/shuttles that can travel to low earth orbits, deliver payloads and return to earth for use again.
  • RLV-TD(Technology Demonstrator) is a series of tests in developing essential technologies for a fully reusable launch vehicle to enable low-cost access to space.
  • RLV LEX –The Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX) test was the second of the 5 RLV-TDs.
  • The first trial of the RLV-TDwas conducted on May 23, 2016.
  • Three more experiments have to be conducted.
    1. Return flight experiment (REX)
    2. Powered cruise flight
    3. Scramjet Propulsion Experiment (SPEX)
  • 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).
  • This RLV will be scaled up to become the first stage of India’s reusable two-stage orbital (TSTO) launch vehicle in the future.
  • ISRO’s RLV-TD looks like an aircraft.
  • It consists of a fuselage, a nose cap, double delta wings, and twin vertical tails.
  • 1stand 2nd RLV-TD
    1. The first test with RLV-TD (HEX1) involved the vehicle landing on a hypothetical runway over the Bay of Bengal.
    2. The second test with RLV-TD LEX experiment involved a precise landing on a runway.
  • Advantages –Low-cost, reliable, and on-demand mode of accessing space.
  • Global Scenario of RLV –Reusable space vehicles have been in existence for a long time.
  • NASA space shuttles carried out dozens of human space flight missions.
  • Space X demonstrates partially reusable launch systems with its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets since 2017.
  • SpaceX is also working on a fully reusable launch vehicle system called Starship.
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