The efforts of Indian scientists may soon bear fruit as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will begin pre-launch tests on its Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) in May. This means we might be a few steps away from a vehicle that can go into outer space and return, to be reused for another mission.
According to a Times of India report, the acoustic tests for RLV-TD will begin shortly in Bengaluru.
AS Kiran Kumar, Chairperson, ISRO
The vehicle would be taken to Bengaluru for acoustic tests to check how well it can perform during the during initial stages of launch.
Reusable Space Vehicles to Reduce Cost of Space Launch
The RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration mission conceived by ISRO as a part of Two Stage to Orbit (TSTO) re-usable launch vehicle. The RLV-TD will act as a test bed to evaluate various technologies like hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.
Reusable launch vehicles will be a major step towards reducing the cost of space launches. At present, a PSLV costs between Rs 120 crore to Rs 140 crore.
The program was approved in January 2012 and a concept called Avatar (Aerobic Vehicle for Transatmoshpheric Hypersonic Aerospace Transportation) was created by ISRO in coordination with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and other research institution.
The success of the mission will be important for ISRO to counter the reusable Falcon 9 rocket, successfully test launched and landed by satellite carrier company SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk.