KERALA

RLV-TD test flight in May

The first test flight of the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) developed by ISRO is also scheduled for May. The technology demonstration version named RLV-TD is undergoing extensive tests at the VSSC complex here. “It will be transported to Bengaluru next week for acoustic tests before being taken to SHAR for the launch in May when atmospheric conditions are most favourable,” Dr. Sivan said.

Designed to drive down the cost of placing satellites in orbit, RLV is expected to enhance India’s competitive edge in the launch vehicle market. The first trial involves the hypersonic flight experiment during which the RLV resembling a small winged aircraft will be launched up to an altitude of 70 km from atop a solid booster rocket and released. The thermally insulated RLV will re enter the atmosphere and travel back to earth in a controlled descent, splashing down in the Bay of Bengal.

Preparations are also underway for the launch of the last of the seven satellites constituting the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation to be used for navigation. A PSLV rocket is scheduled to launch the satellite in April, Dr. Sivan said.

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