RLV launch boosts confidence levels at Isro
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launching Reusable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator, space scientists say it is a stepping stone to master the key technologies required for designing and developing an operational RLV for ferrying payload to orbit.
An elated Dr K. Sivan, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director, told DC that he feels his team at VSSC has done something for the country. At 7 am on Monday, the experimental mission, the HS9 solid rocket booster carrying RLV – TD, lifted off from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. With this launch, ISRO has successfully flight tested country’s first indigenous winged body aerospace vehicle operating in hypersonic flight regime.
Once it reached the altitude of 65 km, RLV – TD began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry around Mach 5 (five times the speed of the sound). The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from ground stations at Sriharikota and a ship-borne terminal which had the support of the Indian Coast Guard and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) respectively.
Mr Sivan said his team had got their confidence levels high with the launch. “This launch has given us the strength and also our self-confidence is high to proceed and we need to do more technology tests to land on the launch pad of SHAR itself instead of it landing on the specially made runway in the Bay of Bengal. Also, the one we launched today is a sub-orbital mission and we would prefer to have it in an orbital way,” he said over the telephone after the launch.
Though having the orbital way is going to complex for the space scientists, Dr Sivan is confident of developing the associate requirements with ease due to the excellent team he has at VSSC. He also informed that further research and technology development in the areas of propulsion, materials, structures and vehicle configuration will be carried out in a phased manner to achieve this goal.
Total flight duration from launch to the landing of this mission of the delta-winged RLV-TD lasted about 770 seconds. International space agencies have been eagerly awaiting the outcome of RLV – TD’s launch as it reduces the cost of space missions by more than ten times.