It has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.
Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation will flight test its Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), a new generation of vehicles that can launch satellites into orbit around Earth and then reenter the atmosphere, at the end of May, the agency’s Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said on April 23.
“We will flight test in next month end Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration Program, which can re-enter the atmosphere,” Kumar said. The vehicle is currently on its way to Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota after having completed various tests, including the final acoustics test at the National Aerospace Laboratories, he added.
It has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion. “The vehicle will be taken to a height of over 70 km and released for its re-entry into the atmosphere,” he said, delivering the annual Air Chief Marshal L.M. Khatre Lecture, organised by HAL, Air Force Association and the Aeronautical Society of India, in Bengaluru.
The programme was approved in January 2012 and the launch was then scheduled to happen between July and August 2015. Talking about the second launch of LVM 3, Kumar said the space agency is working towards realisation of the vehicle: “Realisation of this vehicle will help ISRO place heavier satellites into orbit.”
LVM 3 has been conceived and designed to make ISRO fully self-reliant in launching heavier communication satellites of INSAT-4 class, which weigh 4,500-5,000 kg. The vehicle will also enhance India’s capability to be a competitive player in the multi-million dollar commercial launch market.
ISRO tested its heaviest rocket, the GSLV Mk III, on December 18, 2014, and carried a crew module to test its reentry characteristics. The mission was called LVM 3X. The launch was intended to test the atmospheric characteristics and stability of the updated rocket on its way up and study the crew module upon atmospheric reentry.
Kumar also said that 34 satellites are in operation and many more are in the pipeline. The country’s space programme has flown 132 missions so far and launched 57 satellites belonging to 21 countries. Moreover, he added that the Director General of Civil Aviation had mandated Indian and international carriers to fit the space-based navigation system GAGAN onboard their aircraft by 2020-21. GAGAN is a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) implemented jointly with the Airport Authority of India.
The main objectives of GAGAN are to provide satellite based navigation services with accuracy and integrity required for civil aviation applications and to provide better air-traffic Management over Indian airspace. The system will be inter-operable with other international SBAS systems and provide seamless navigation across regional boundaries. The GAGAN Signal-In-Space is available through GSAT-8 and GSAT-10.