Credit: ISRO

Credit: ISRO

 

An experimental winged vehicle has been successfully flight tested by India.

The May 23rd flight of India’s Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) flew from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

An HS9 solid rocket booster was topped by the RLV-TD. The suborbital flight saw the unpiloted winged craft reach a height of about 184,000 feet (56 kilometers).

Credit: ISRO

Credit: ISRO

 

 

 

 

 

 

At that altitude, the RLV-TD separated from the HS9 booster and further ascended to a height of about 213,000 feet (65 kilometers).

Landing spot-on

The 1.75 ton craft made an atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound), successfully gliding down to the pre-ordained landing spot within the Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 280 miles (450 kilometers) from Sriharikota.

Credit: Vikram Sarabhai Space Center

Credit: Vikram Sarabhai Space Center

The vehicle’s Navigation, Guidance and Control system steered the vehicle during this flight phase for a safe descent.

Total flight duration from launch to landing of the delta winged RLV-TD lasted for about 770seconds, according to a press statement from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

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

Two-stage to orbit

ISRO is pushing forward on reusable launch vehicle technology.

Credit: ISRO

Credit: ISRO

According to ISRO, the RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions for realizing a two stage to orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.

RLV-TD is viewed as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies: hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.

Credit: ISRO

Credit: ISRO

 

 

The first in the series of experimental flights, explains ISRO, is the hypersonic flight experiment (HEX) followed by the landing experiment (LEX), return flight experiment (REX) and scramjet propulsion experiment (SPEX).

Design leader

Sivan, Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, led the RLV-TD development program and spearheaded its design, qualification, aerodynamic characterization and hardware development.

Vikram Sarabhai Space Center is the major centre of ISRO, where the design and development activities of satellite launch vehicles and sounding rockets are carried out and made ready for launch operations.

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