Final Reusable Launch Vehicle RLV-TD will need a better body to be launched into space: ISRO
The rocket will have to be modified with a more sustainable body before it is finally launched into space. (ISRO)
The rocket will have to be modified with a more sustainable body before it is finally launched into space.
The body of India's first ever indigenously built reusable space shuttle - the Reusable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) - will need to be made of better material to enable it to be launched into space, said director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), K Sivan, on Wednesday.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully test launched RLV-TD on Monday from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota island of Andhra Pradesh.
Addressing the media on Wednesday after the feat, Sivan said the rocket will have to be modified with a more sustainable body before it is finally launched into space.
"The aluminum material, after 150 degrees Celsius, it will become dilute. Steel, it will become dilute at 500 degrees Celsius. You just imagine what will happen to a material if it is at 2,000 degrees Celsius. It will evaporate. So we need a protection system against that one and we need a material which is working in the high temperature. That is another thing. We need autonomous mission management, another thing," Sivan said in Chennai.
The VSSC director also suggested ways to make the vehicle more cost-effective.
"80% of the cost of the rocket and of the materials that cost, only 15-20% are consumables like propellant. Suppose, in the rocket, 80% of the rocket, if we recover 80% of the rocket, that means 80% of the money we can recover. That is simple technology. That means every time only 20% of the cost will be required to launch a satellite," added Sivan.
The test launch was intended to enable scientists to gather data on autonomous landing, hypersonic speed and more.
It's success puts India on an elite list of space-faring nations, including the United States, Japan and Russia, which have been using their own RLVs for years.
India Slowly Becoming Space Exploration Powerhouse
India successfully launched an unmanned mini prototype space shuttle joining the world race to develop the first low-cost reusable spacecraft.
On May 23, India successfully launched an unmanned mini prototype space shuttle called the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), joining the world race to develop the first low-cost reusable spacecraft.
According to BBC India, the 22-foot (7m) scale model took off from Andhra Pradesh and was expected to fly about 43 miles into the atmosphere before coming down to Earth into the Bay of Bengal.
According to Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) announcement, in this successful experimental mission, the HS9 solid rocket booster carrying RLV-TD lifted off from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 07:00hr IST. After a successful flight of just over 90 seconds, burn out occurred, following which both HS9 and RLV-TD (mounted on its top,) coasted to a height of about 34 miles (56 km). At that height, RLV-TD separated from HS9 booster and further ascended to a height of about 40 miles (65km).
From that peak altitude of just over 40 miles, RLV-TD began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). The shuttle’s Navigation, Guidance and Control system accurately steered the vehicle during this phase for a safe descent.
“After successfully surviving a high temperatures of re-entry with the help of its Thermal Protection System (TPS), RLV-TD successfully glided down to the defined landing spot over the Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 450 km [280 miles] from Sriharikota, completing its mission,” The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced May 23.
The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from ground stations at Sriharikota and a shipborne terminal. Total flight duration from launch to the landing of this mission of the delta-winged RLV-TD lasted for about 770 seconds.
Despite operating with a budget of $1 billion—five percent of NASA’s $17.6 billion annual budget—ISRO has launched a number of successful space exploration initiatives over the last seven decades. Most notably, in September 2014, ISRO launched an orbiter on to Mars, making it the fourth agency to do so after the United States, the Soviet Union, and the European Union. ISRO accomplished this on a mere $75 million budget—just 11 percent of what it cost NASA