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August 20, 2017
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India Successfully Launches Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD)

Published: May 2016
 

Sriharikota/ New Delhi. India has successfully launched first ever indigenous space shuttle Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD).

The Reusable space shuttle, completely Made in India (or in Hindi Swadeshi), was flight tested from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR Sriharikota at 0700 hours May 23.

Considered to be one of the milestones of the Indian space programme, RLV-TD is the first winged body aerospace vehicle operating in hypersonic flight regime. With this flight-testing of Reusable Launch Vehicle, India would be able to cut cost of launching the satellites.

In this experimental mission, the HS9 solid rocket booster carrying RLV-TD lifted off from the First Launch Pad at SDSC. After a successful flight of 91.1 second, HS9 burn out occurred, following which both HS9 and RLV-TD mounted on its top coasted to a height of about 56 km. At that height, RLV-TD separated from HS9 booster and further ascended to a height of about 65 km.

From that peak altitude of 65 km, RLV-TD began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). The vehicle’s Navigation, Guidance and Control system accurately steered the vehicle during this phase for safe descent. After successfully surviving high temperatures of re-entry with the help of its Thermal Protection System (TPS), RLV-TD successfully glided down to the defined landing spot over Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 450 km from Sriharikota, thereby fulfilling its mission objectives. The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from ground stations at Sriharikota and a shipborne terminal. Total flight duration from launch to landing of this mission of the delta winged RLV-TD, lasted for about 770 seconds.

In this flight, critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management have been successfully validated.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) acknowledges the support of Indian Coast Guard and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) for the mid-sea wind measurement and shipborne telemetry respectively in this mission.

President Pranab Mukherjee has congratulated the ISRO on the successful launch of India’s first Re-usable Launch Vehicle–Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD).

In a message to ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar, the President said, “I extend my hearty congratulations to you and your entire team at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on the successful launch of India’s first Re-usable Launch Vehicle –Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD).

The launch of RLV-TD is an important achievement made by the ISRO and takes India into the ranks of leading nations of the world with space shuttle capabilities. The nation is proud of this achievement.

Kindly convey my greetings to all members of your team of scientists, engineers, technologists and others involved in this great mission. I wish the ISRO continued success in all its future endeavours”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice President Hamid Ansari have congratulated the space scientists, engineers and other staff who have contributed in a way or the other towards this mission, which was achieved successfully.

PM Modi’s tweet read: “Launch of India’s first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the result of the industrious efforts of our scientists. Congrats to them. “The dynamism and dedication with which our scientists and ISRO have worked over the years is exceptional and very inspiring,” the Prime Minister added.

The Vice President in his message said: “I offer my congratulations to the Scientists, Engineers and Technicians of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the successful test of the RLV-TD. I wish ISRO all the very best for the future.”

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