India’s first winged body aerospace vehicle, called the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) was successfully launched from ISRO’s first launch pad in Sriharikota 80 km off Chennai on the east coast at 7.00 am on Monday. The RLV-TD shuttle shaped like an aircraft was launched aboard the HS9 a seven-meter rocket with a booster, weighing 17 tons with nine tons of solid propellants. The rocket and shuttle made a successful flight of 91.1seconds and the burnout of HS9 followed.
The development of reusable launch vehicle has opened new gateways in conducting space experiments using conventional rockets. One major significance of reusable vehicle is its cost effectiveness. The new vehicle has the potential to cut down the actual cost of launching the rocket by ten times.
With the launch of reusable launch vehicle India has demonstrated the world that what India is capable of. Even though the launch vehicle is just a prototype, there is lot to be done in developing a fully fledged space shuttle.
In this flight, critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management have been successfully validated.
With this successful mission India has joined the elite club of space-faring nations. The other countries are the USA, Russia and Japan, that developed and used RLVs for their space missions. This mission has enabled ISRO to successfully collect data and validate such critical technologies and systems as hypersonic speed, autonomous navigation, guidance and control, reusable thermal protection system, powered cruise flight using air-breathing propulsion and re-entry mission management. According to experts, the reusable vehicle technology will reduce the costs of launches in the future by 80% percent.