ISRO successfully conducts landing experiment of the Reusable Launch Vehicle

ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organisation, has successfully completed the landing experiment for its Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD) programme at the Aeronautical Test Range in Challakere, Chitradurga.

The RLV-TD was dropped from a height of 4.5 km by an Indian Air Forces (IAF) Chinook helicopter, and it autonomously performed the approach and landing maneuvers using an Integrated Navigation, Guidance, and Control system, successfully landing on the airstrip as planned. Additionally, ISRO launched the EOS-06 third generation satellite, along with eight Nano-satellites, on November 26.

“The RLV took off at 7:10 a.m. by a Chinook helicopter of the IAF as an underslung load and flew at a height of 4.5 km. Once the predetermined pillbox parameters were attained, based on the RLV’s Mission Management and Computer command, the RLV has released mid-air, at a down range of 4.6 km,” ISRO said.

The satellite has enhanced payload capability and carries four payloads that provide data on ocean color, sea surface temperature, wind vectors, and geophysical parameters for use in applications such as oceanography, climatic and meteorological research, and potential fishing zone identification.

One of the key goals of the RLV program is to develop a fully reusable launch vehicle that can significantly reduce the cost of access to space. In May 2016, ISRO successfully conducted the first experimental mission of its RLV program, which involved the launch of a scaled-down prototype of the reusable vehicle called the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD).

The RLV-TD was launched using a solid rocket booster and was designed to test the vehicle’s hypersonic aerodynamics during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The experimental mission was considered a success, as the RLV-TD was able to reach an altitude of 65 km and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere before landing safely in the Bay of Bengal.

Since then, ISRO has conducted several other experimental missions related to the RLV program, including the testing of a winged reusable space vehicle prototype in 2019. However, I do not have the information on the latest updates on the landing experiment of the Reusable Launch Vehicle after my knowledge cutoff date.

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