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ISRO ready for first landing experiment of reusable launcher, says chairman

ISRO set up for first landing experiment of reusable launch vehicle; keep an eye on the weather, says the chairman

The Indian Space Research Organization appears ready for the first landing experiment (RLV-LEX) of a Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) from an aeronautical test range in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka, with chairman S Somanath indicating that the weather is being checked .

“We are looking at the climate. The climate is still not good. So we are waiting for the wind and other systems to become benign. We will,” Somanath, also secretary of the Department of Space, told PTI here.

According to ISRO officials, the RLV wing body will be transported by helicopter to an altitude of three to five km and released at a distance of about four to five km in front of the runway at a horizontal speed. After release, the RLV will glide, navigate to the runway and land autonomously with landing gear at the defense airfield at Chitradurga.

Sources in the national space agency, which is headquartered here, previously said that new systems such as landing gear, parachute, hook beam structure, radar altimeter and pseudolite have been developed and qualified. ISRO accomplished its first RLV-TD HEX-01 (Hypersonic Flight Experiment-01) mission on May 23, 2016 from SDSC SHAR, successfully demonstrating the critical technologies for flight design and testing of reentry vehicles.

However, it was a suborbital flight and designed to land at sea. One of the critical technologies to be demonstrated in the RLV-LEX mission is runway approach and autonomous landing, ISRO said. To acquire end-to-end reusable launch vehicle (RLV) technology, this milestone (RLV-LEX) must be reached before the Orbital Re-Entry Experiment (RLV) mission, ISRO officials say.

In ORE, a wing body called Orbital Re-entry Vehicle (ORV) will be launched into orbit by a take-off vehicle derived from the existing GSLV and PSLV phases and remain in orbit for a period of time , return and land on a runway autonomously with a landing gear.

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