The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
is designing a Reusable Launch Vehicle
(RLV) to place satellites in orbit,
reenter earthâ€™s atmosphere, and use
parachutes to land as an airplane.
This development will substantially
reduce cost of satellite launch,
increase launch margins, and will make
India a more attractive destination
for the lucrative satellite launch
According to the annual report of ISRO,
â€œconceptual design of auxiliary
power systemsâ€ for RLV and
â€œinitiation of studies for the
development of 2000 kN thrust
semi-cryogenic engineâ€ has started.
Simultaneously, aerodynamic and
baseline characterization, reference
trajectory for the mission, avionics
configuration, structural design and
fabrication process studies have also
However, a host of other
technologies will have to be
developed. Specifically, metallurgical
studies will get a major fillip, as
the RLV must withstand reentry
friction and speeds. Such technologies
may also facilitate multiple spin-off
technologies that can then be
harnessed by the corporate world to
increase their global competitiveness.
This is the probably the first time
that India has embarked on a visionary
project way ahead of its competitors
and developed world.
ISRO is planning a technology demonstrator experiment that
will be part of the CARTOSAT-2 launch later this year.
It will launch a recoverable 500-kilogram satellite as
a co-passenger on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
This Space-Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE) will test
reusable thermal protection system; navigation,
guidance, and control; hypersonic aerodynamics;
management of communication blackout; deceleration and
flotation system; and recovery operations.