India has successfully launched a scaled-down model of a planned “Reusable Launch Vehicle” (RLV).
This is a great advancement for the ISRO as it is the first indigenous space shuttle which is Indian made.
Today’s launch was displayed as “hypersonic flight experiment” (HEX) and saw a 6.5m, 1.75 tonne model of a winged space shuttle hoisted aloft atop a modified sounding rocket using the S9 engine India uses as an auxiliary for its PSV satellite launch vehicles.
That rocket covered an upward distance of almost 70km, then happened to release the RLV. The dummy craft then made a hypersonic descent to earth, splashing down into the water body of the Bay of Bengal about ten minutes after its launch.
Today’s flight will be followed by a “return flight experiment (REX)” in which the RLV will be guided in to land on a runway. Next will come the addition of a scramjet-packing second stage to the launch vehicle, to test orbital insertion of the RLV.
The planned fourth flight (RLV-TD HEX1) will test “hypersonic aero-thermo dynamic characterization of winged re-entry body along with autonomous mission management to land at a specified location and characterization of hot structures are planned to be demonstrated.”
ISRO states that a full-scale model and commercial operations are still years away, but the nation surely has plans to elevate their status in the international sattelite launch sector.
Today is the day for the nation’s space agency, ISRO, to mark this day as a great leap in their advancement towards launching of satellites which will surely evolve into a major aspect of the ISRO in the coming years.