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10 interesting facts about India’s first reusable launch vehicle

Think Change India
24th May 2016
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India’s first indigenous reusable space shuttle RLV-TD was successfully launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 7 am today. The purpose of the experiment is not to see it float but to glide and navigate from a velocity five times higher than the speed of sound onto a designated virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal some 500 km from the coast, reported The Financial Express.

Representational Image, Source - Pics about Space
Representational Image, Source – Pics about Space

“Mission accomplished successfully,” an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) spokesman said soon after RLV-TD HEX-01 was flight tested. This is the first time ISRO has launched a winged flight vehicle, which glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 kilometres from the coast. Known as hypersonic flight experiment, it was about 10-minutes mission from liftoff to splashdown.

Here are 10 things to know about the reusable space shuttle:

  1. RLV-TD is a scale model almost six times smaller than the final version. The 6.5-m-long ‘aeroplane’-like structure weighs 1.75 tonnes and will be hoisted into the atmosphere on a special rocket booster
  2. RLV-TD is described as “a very preliminary step” in the development of a reusable rocket
  3. RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully reusable vehicle
  4. RLV-TD is a 6.5-meter-long vehicle, having a mass of 1.75 tonne and is expected to go up to around 70 km after which it is expected to descend at a particular point on the sea
  5. RLV-TD has a flush air-data system, slow burning propellant and composite movable fin
  6. The RLV-TD is a scaled-down model of the reusable launch vehicle
  7. RLV-TD, being dubbed as India’s own space shuttle, is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access, according to ISRO scientists
  8. RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle as said by ISRO
  9. RLV-TD has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion
  10. RLV-TD’s final version is expected to take in 10 to 15 years

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