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3 April 2023: Reusable Launch Vehicle from ISRO


ISRO just finished the landing test for the Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD) mission, which went well.

Details about the story

  • The experiment was carried out by the space agency at the Aeronautical Test Range of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in Karnataka’s Challakere, in the Chitradurga region, under the name “Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX)”.
  • The RLV-TD was dropped by a Chinook helicopter of the Indian Air Forces (IAF) from a height of 4.5 km, and ISRO did the landing experiment as planned.
  • The RLV was released on its own because it landed on the airstrip on its own and used an integrated navigation, guidance, and control system to control its approach and landing.
  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) says that a chopper took a body with wings to a height of 4.5 km before letting it go to land on its own on a runway.

More information on the RLV-TD (reusable launch vehicle technology demonstration)

  • Mastering RLV technology is important for a lot of goals, such as making space travel more affordable.
    Configuration: The RLV-TD’s configuration, according to ISRO, incorporates the complexity of both launch vehicles and aircraft and is comparable to that of an aircraft.
  • The RLV-TD is a flying test platform with wings that can be used to test a wide range of technologies, such as powered cruise flight, automatic landing, and hypersonic flight.
  • The body of the RLV-TD is made up of a fuselage, a snout cap, two delta wings, and two vertical tails. Elevators and rudders, which are active control surfaces, are also equally positioned.
  • During the RLV-TD’s successful flight test on May 23, 2016, from Sriharikota, a thermal protection system that can be used more than once, autonomous navigation, guidance, and control, and re-entry mission management were all well tested.
  • During this flight over the Bay of Bengal, the car landed on a fake runway.
    The most recent experiment with landing is the second in a line of test missions for the program.

What makes the two exams different from one another?

  • ISRO says that in the first RLV-TD test (HEX1), the vehicle landed on a made-up airstrip over the Bay of Bengal. In the most recent LEX test, the vehicle landed right on a runway.
  • In the future, this vehicle will be made bigger so that it can be the first stage of India’s two-stage orbital launch vehicle that can be used again and again.


  • ISRO made localized navigation systems using, among other things, pseudolite systems, instruments, and sensor systems.RLV LEX made it possible for ISRO to use cutting-edge technologies to make other operational ISRO launch vehicles more affordable.
  • More tests are planned to make sure that the RLV can successfully send payloads to low Earth orbit while cutting the cost of the process by 80%.
  • There are also plans for the Return Flight Experiment and other RLV-related experiments.

Cost component

  • Reusable launch vehicles are seen as a low-cost, reliable, and on-demand way to get to space, since money is a big obstacle to space exploration.
  • The structure of a space launch vehicle accounts for about 80% to 87% of the total cost.
  • Propeller costs are relatively low in contrast.
  • RLVs allow for a nearly 80% reduction in launch costs compared to current costs.

RLV technology development on a global scale

NASA: Humans have been on many space shuttle missions, which shows that reusable space vehicles have been around for a long time.
Space X: Since 2017, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets of the private space launch company Space X have shown that they can be used more than once.This has brought back the idea that reusable space launch vehicles could be useful.
Starship is a system of completely reusable launch vehicles that SpaceX is also developing.
Others: In addition to ISRO, a number of private launch companies and government space agencies around the world are also working on reusable launch systems.

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