[FPSPACE] Newsbreak: ISRO to launch spaceplane technology demonstrator in May

Peter Pesavento pjp961 at svol.net
Wed Apr 6 10:00:07 EDT 2016


Via Spaceflight Insider  (diagrams with article)

 

http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/isro/india-launch-reusable-s
paceplane-may/

 

India to launch its reusable spaceplane in May



Tomasz Nowakowski  April 5th, 2016

 

The Indian Space Research Organisation ( <http://www.isro.gov.in/> ISRO) has
announced that it is on track to launch its first reusable spaceplane as
early as May. The Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) is scheduled to conduct
maiden flight to evaluate various technologies needed to develop a fully
reusable space vehicle.

The RLV, is a scaled-down prototype (some 21.3 feet in length or 6.5 meters)
of a future uncrewed single-stage reusable spaceplane, known as Avatar, that
is being designed by the ISRO.

The May mission will be a technology demonstrator (RLV-TD) to test powered
cruise flight, autonomous landing and hypersonic flight using an
air-breathing propulsion system. The spacecraft, which resembles a small
winged aircraft, will be launched from the first launchpad of the Satish
Dhawan Space Centre to an altitude of 43 miles (70 km) atop a two-stage
Rohini sounding rocket and then released. It will re-enter the atmosphere
and travel back to Earth in a controlled descent, to be recovered from the
Bay of Bengal.

"We want clear weather conditions for the launch. We hope it will happen by
first half of May,"
<http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/rlvtd-test-fligh
t-in-may/article8407760.ece> said K. Sivan, the Director of the Vikram
Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, India.

To be fully prepared for the first flight, the RLV-TD is currently
undergoing extensive tests at VSSC.

"It will be transported to Bengaluru next week for acoustic tests before
being taken to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre for the launch in May when
atmospheric conditions are most favorable," The launch of the mission was
initially planned for the middle of 2015 but was postponed due to technical
difficulties.

The spacecraft, which weighs about 1.5 metric tons, will be powered by an
air-breathing scramjet. ISRO hopes that this reusable vehicle will cut
satellite launch costs from $5,000 to $500 per every 2 lbs. (1 kg).

Currently, a total of four RLV-TD flights are planned by the Indian space
agency. The first in the series of experimental flights is the hypersonic
flight experiment (HEX) followed by the landing experiment (LEX), the return
flight experiment (REX), and the scramjet propulsion experiment (SPEX).

"Development of RLV is a technical challenge and it involves development of
cutting edge technologies. The magnitude of cost reduction depends on
development and realization of fully reusable launch vehicle and its degree
of reusability," Jitendra Singh, India's Minister of State in the Prime
Minister's Office,
<http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/ISRO-to-Test-Reusable-Launch-Vehicle
-Space-Exploration-Costs-to-go-Down/2015/03/04/article2697840.ece> said in
March 2015.

The RLV-TD project was started in January of 2012 and is planned to be
completed as early as 2025 when the first Avatar spacecraft would take to
the skies.





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