• ISRO is working on reusable technology for reducing the cost of access to space including the development of a winged body unmanned reusable launch vehicle for launching payloads into low earth orbits.
• ISRO has successfully developed a scaled down (1:5) technology demonstration version of Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) vehicle and successfully carried out the first experimental mission on May 23, 2016 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
• In this mission, critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control and reusable thermal protection system have been successfully demonstrated.
Key highlights of this reusable rocket technology
• Development of Reusable Launch Vehicles is a technical challenge and it involves the development of many cutting-edge technologies.
• A series of technology demonstration missions would be required to validate these technologies.
• In the next phase, an autonomous runway landing experiment is planned to release the RLV-TD vehicle from a helicopter to demonstrate the runway approach and landing capability.
• This will be followed by an end-to-end orbital re-entry mission demonstration using a Technology Demonstration Vehicle boosted by propulsion systems.
Development process by ISRO
• ISRO has undertaken the development & qualification of Semi-Cryogenic engine.
• The development activities are planned to realise a Semi-cryogenic stage and uprated version of the high thrust GSLV Mk III cryogenic stage, in order to increase the payload capacity of GSLV Mk III from 4 tonnes to 6.5 tonnes.
Mains Paper 3: Science and Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics etc.
Prelims level: Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV)
Mains level: Importance of RLV in ISRO missions