Reusable Launch Vehicle Current Affairs

ISRO to test indigenously developed scramjet engine

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is going to test indigenously developed scramjet engine technology based on air-breathing propulsion in July 2016.

The test will be conducted on test platform named Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

Key Facts

  • The test platform ATV will comprise a scramjet engine hitched to a two-stage sounding rocket (RH- 560).
  • The vehicle has been characterised and being fabricated at the VSSC (Vikram Sarabhai Space Center) and the ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri.
  • The air-breathing engine of ATV will be released at a height of 70 km and ignited at hypersonic speed during the coasting phase.
  • Apart from the hypersonic ignition at Mach 6, ATV’s capability to sustain the combustion for 5 seconds will be also tested.
  • The test is expected to help ISRO to achieve good thrust value with the scramjet engine as maintaining combustion in hypersonic conditions poses technical challenges.

Comment

This test will be further advance stage of the successful test of the first indigenous Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) conducted in May 2016. The post-flight analysis of RLV-TD test flight had shown encouraging results that had helped ISRO to understand the hypersonic aerothermodynamics of the delta winged body.

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India’s first reusable space shuttle RLV-TD launched

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully test launched the first indigenous Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD).

Launch Details: It was launched from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The launch was part of a series of technology demonstration missions, which is considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.

After launch RLV-TD glided back onto a virtual runway in Bay of Bengal and re-entered the atmosphere after reaching a height of over 70 km.

Key facts

  • RLV-TD is winged body aerospace vehicle that operated in hypersonic flight regime. It is capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere
  • It has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight.
  • It was launched using a nine-ton solid rocket motor (SRM) which is designed to burn slowly to accommodate the vertical lifting of winged body
  • The RLV-TD was 6.5 meter long and has aeroplane like structure. It weighs about 1.75 tonnes and is very similar to the retired US space shuttle.
  • It was built by a team of 600 scientists over five years at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

Comment

RLV is being dubbed as India’s own space shuttle and considered as the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access. ISRO’s RLV will be competing with two US based private companies namely SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Blue Origin’s New Shephard rocket, which have already partially tested re-usable space shuttles.

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