India successfully tested its home-grown winged Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), demonstrating its space technology prowess and joining an elite club of space-faring nations like the US, Russia and France.
The guided approach landing with the help of GAGAN (GPS-aided GEO Augmented Navigation) would immediately benefit nearly 50 airports in India. GAGAN services had also been scheduled to be extended to the railways for safety at unmanned level crossings.
After 91.1 seconds into the flight, the burn out occurred while the rocket along its vehicle coasted to an altitude of 56km and separated to ascend to 65km above the earth in sub-orbital space. From 65km height, the vehicle began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at Mach 5 (five times speed of sound). “Navigation, guidance and control system steered the vehicle for safe descent to the defined landing spot over the Bay of Bengal, about 450km from Sriharikota on the east coast,” the statement said.
The complete flight duration from launch to landing in the sea was 13.3 minutes. Critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance and control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management have been confirmed. The maiden mission has qualified India to enter the elite club of space-faring nations like the US (NASA), Russia (Roscosmos), France (European Space Agency) and Japan (Jaxa), which developed and used RLVs for their space missions over the years. The seven-metre RLV prototype was used as a flying test bed to evaluate technologies the state-run space agency developed to reduce the cost of launching satellites into the earth’s polar and geo-stationary orbits in the next decade.
The space agency is developing the RLV and its support systems from the budget earmarked annually for technology development and research and development activities. The cost of developing the RLV technology is estimated to be about US $14 million. “
The above mentioned development is essential for Indian defence sector. The elaboration of which is mentioned in Aerospace and Defense Market report published by Coherent Market Insights.