Inspired by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, ISRO takes reusable launch tech to the next level

16th Jan 2019
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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be carrying out tests in June and July this year to conduct an advanced version of the reusable launch technology.

By 2024, reports suggest the global market for rocket launches is expected to reach the $7 billion mark. While Elon Musk-led aerospace company SpaceX currently has the biggest section of this pie, the numbers might soon change. Especially if the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is able to achieve the goals it has set for itself.

ISRO

ISRO, deemed as India’s apex space agency, has taken an ambitious task upon itself, laying out plans to apply the reusable launch technology (RLT) in the second stage of a rocket launch. For the uninitiated, this technique of launching basically corresponds to the use of the first and second stages of a rocket multiple times. Not only does this allow the space tech company to save money, but will also cut down the time taken for building a rocket each time.

SpaceX has for long been a proponent of the reusable launch technology (RLT), using which the company has not only grown since its inception in 2009, but has also emerged as a dominant player in this sector. At the moment, Musk’s company commands around 50 percent of the market share - an impressive feat that ISRO is now trying to emulate.

Speaking about the plans to utilise reusable launch technology (RLT), ISRO Chairman K Sivan said, “The first rocket stage will be recovered on a vertical landing spot in the sea like SpaceX has been doing it with its Falcon rocket. However, recovering the second stage is not simple.”

“We are developing a winged body like a space shuttle. This shuttle will be attached as a second stage in a rocket. It will carry the top portion of the rocket comprising a satellite or spacecraft to space. Once it injects the satellite in its orbit, the shuttle will glide back to the earth and land on an airstrip like an aircraft,” he added.

The Indian space agency will be carrying out tests in June and July this year to conduct an advanced version of the technology.

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