ISRO rockets to make safe landings too

Rockets to bring down cost of satellite launch; first flight in June
Bengaluru: If Indian space scientists were giddy with success when they steered the orbiter to Mars (MOM) in the maiden effort last year, such feelings could soar higher when they launch an improvised version of the space shuttle from the country’s space port, Sriharikota Range, in three months. This new rocket, designed to bring down the cost of launch of satellites substantially, could be used over and over again because it will return to earth and touch down like an aircraft.
In its first flight in June, it will be propelled into space at about six times the speed of sound by a booster, and return after touching an altitude of 70 km. The booster and the reusable launch vehicle (RLV) will plummet into the Bay of Bengal, but once operational both will touch down on return, Dr A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Isro, told Deccan Chronicle, adding “ground tests are on for the first flight scheduled for the end of the first half of this year.”
His colleagues explained that this two stage rocket, shaped like an aircraft, is set to undergo more test launches to understand the technology required to land it on a runwayas for its return to earth (subsonic cruise). On completion of these test flights, it would make way for inexpensive access to space by placing remote sensing satellites weighing as much as 11 tonnes and communication satellites of about six tonnes in orbit. It could also be used for human space flights. Besides shrinking the cost of launch of satellites, it would not leave behind any debris in space.
The scientists said Isro would also build the third launch pad in Sriharikota for the rocket’s touchdown. “If we succeed, we will be able to acquire a bigger slice of the global market for launch of satellites,” they said.
( Source : dc )
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