ISRO to flight-test new generation reusable launch vehicle RLV-TD next month-end

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will flight test RLV-TD, a new generation reusable launch vehicle that can re-enter the atmosphere, next month end, the agency Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said on Saturday.

“We will flight test in next month end Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration Program (RLV-TD), which can re-enter the atmosphere,” Kumar said.

The vehicle is on its way to Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota after completing various tests, including the final acoustics test at the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), he said.
It has been configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.

“The vehicle will be taken to a height of over 70 km and released for its re-entry into the atmosphere,” he said, delivering the annual Air Chief Marshal L M Khatre lecture, organised by HAL, Air Force Association and the Aeronautical Society of India, here.

The programme was approved in January 2012 and the launch was tentatively scheduled between July and August last year.

Talking about the second launch of LVM 3, Kumar said the space agency is working towards realisation of the vehicle.

“Realisation of this vehicle will help ISRO place heavier satellites into orbit,” he said.
LVM 3 is conceived and designed to make ISRO fully self reliant in launching heavier communication satellites of INSAT-4 class, which weigh 4,500 to 5,000 kg.

The vehicle will also enhance India’s capability to be a competitive player in the multi-million dollar commercial launch market.

ISRO test lifted its heaviest rocket GSLV-Mark III (LVM 3 X) on December 18, 2014 and carried a crew module to test its re-entry characteristics.

The launch was intended to test the atmospheric characteristics and stability of the updated rocket on its way up and study the crew module on its re-entry into the atmosphere.

Kumar said that 34 satellites are in operation and many more were in the pipeline.

The space programme had witnessed as many as 132 missions so far and it had launched 57 satellites of 21 countries, he added.

Kumar said the Director General of Civil Aviation had mandated Indian and international carriers to fit space based navigation system GAGAN onboard their aircraft by 2020-21.

Gagan is a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) implemented jointly with Airport Authority of India (AAI).

The main objectives of Gagan are to provide satellite based Navigation services with accuracy and integrity required for civil aviation applications and to provide better Air Traffic Management over Indian Airspace.

The system will be inter-operable with other international SBAS systems and provide seamless navigation across regional boundaries.

The GAGAN Signal-In-Space (SIS) is available through GSAT-8 and GSAT-10.