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

Keith Gottschalk kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Wed Apr 6 14:56:58 EDT 2016

ISRO has announced this about nine times over several years, always
followed by a further postponement. Let's hope this does not recur.

   This RLV Technology demonstrator is not a scaled down prototype of
the STTO HOTOL Avatar. It is a scaled down model of a future TTSO VTOHL.

   It will be cheerful news if ISRO does move ahead to adopt the STTO
Avatar designed in the DRDO.

yours, Keith.

>>> "Peter Pesavento"  04/06/16 4:01 PM >>>
Via Spaceflight Insider  (diagrams with article)
Indiato launch its reusable spaceplane in May

Tomasz Nowakowski  April 5th, 2016
TheIndian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)has announced that it is on
track to launch its first reusable spaceplane asearly as May. The
Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) is scheduled toconduct maiden flight to
evaluate various technologies needed to develop afully reusable space
The RLV, is a scaled-down prototype (some 21.3 feet inlength or 6.5
meters) of a future uncrewed single-stage reusable spaceplane,known as
Avatar, that is being designedby the ISRO.
The May mission will be a technology demonstrator (RLV-TD)to test
powered cruise flight, autonomous landing and hypersonic flight usingan
air-breathing propulsion system. The spacecraft, which resembles asmall
winged aircraft, will be launched from the first launchpad of the
SatishDhawan Space Centre to an altitude of 43 miles (70 km) atop a
two-stage Rohinisounding rocket and then released. It will re-enter the
atmosphere and travelback to Earth in a controlled descent, to be
recovered from the Bay of Bengal.
*Wewant clear weather conditions for the launch. We hope it will happen
by firsthalf of May,* said K. Sivan,the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai
Space Center (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, India.
Tobe fully prepared for the first flight, the RLV-TD is currently
undergoingextensive tests at VSSC.
*Itwill be transported to Bengaluru next week for acoustic tests before
being takento the Satish Dhawan Space Centre for the launch in May when
atmosphericconditions are most favorable,* The launch of the mission was
initiallyplanned for the middle of 2015 but was postponed due to
technical difficulties.
Thespacecraft, which weighs about 1.5 metric tons, will be powered by
anair-breathing scramjet. ISRO hopes that this reusable vehicle will
cutsatellite 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. Thefirst 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
*Developmentof RLV is a technical challenge and it involves development
of cutting edgetechnologies. The magnitude of cost reduction depends on
development andrealization of fully reusable launch vehicle and its
degree ofreusability,* Jitendra Singh, India*s Minister of State in
thePrime Minister*s Office, said in March2015.
TheRLV-TD project was started in January of 2012 and is planned to be
completed asearly as 2025 when the first Avatar spacecraft would take to
the skies.

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