The initially stated launch date was in 2009, but has slipped incrementally as various testing and support facilities came on line.
By the end of 2014, ISRO stated that the HEX mission would launch in one year’s time.
For a while, that looked like it would hold true, with numerous media events and releases in early 2015 stating that the HEX mission was targeted for the “first half of 2015”.
In March-April 2015, ISRO highlighted the work over the previous year toward RLV-TD, which included studies of 3D heat flux and shear distribution of heat over the test vehicle, software validations, uplink trials of telemetry packages with satellites, and actuator design, fabrication, and acceptance testing.
Moreover, the HS9 solid rocket motor’s Secondary Injection Thrust Vector Control System was tested successfully.
By April 2015, ISRO stated that the HS9 solid booster was at Satish Dhawan Space Centre and that flight of the HEX mission was on track to occur before July 1, 2015.
However, by mid-May 2015, launch had slipped to the second half of 2015, and vehicle integration was still 8-10 weeks away.
This delay was directly linked to ISRO’s decision to prioritize its commercial launches ahead of HEX.
The mission then slipped to early 2016 before settling in May 2016 after a leak was found before final ground testing on the RLV-TD.
The HEX vehicle arrived at the launch site in late-April and was integrated to its HS9 booster without publicized issue.
A Mission Readiness Review was conducted on May 11 and cleared the RLV-TD and booster for launch.
ISRO thanks Indian coast guard, NIOT for support in successful mission
the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which successfully flight tested Indias first winged body aerospace vehicle operating in hypersonic flight regime today, acknowledge the support of Indian coast guard and National Institute of Ocean technology (NIOT) for the mid sea wind measurement and shipborne telemetry respectively in this mission.
In this experimental mission, the HS9 solid rocket booster carrying RLV-TD lifted off from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 07:00hr IST.
After a successful flight of 91.1second, HS9 burn out occurred, following which both HS9 and RLV-TD mounted on its top coasted to a height of about 56 km. At that height, RLV-TD separated from HS9 booster and further ascended to a height of about 65km.
From that peak altitude of 65 km, RLV-TD began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). The vehicles Navigation, Guidance and Control system accurately steered the vehicle during this phase for safe descent.
After successfully surviving high temperatures of re-entry with the help of its Thermal Protection System (TPS), RLV-TD successfully glided down to the defined landing spot over Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 450km from Sriharikota, thereby fulfilling its mission objectives.
The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from ground stations at Sriharikota and a shipborne terminal.
Total flight duration from launch to landing of this mission of the delta winged RLV-TD, lasted for about 770seconds.
In this flight, critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance and control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management have been successfully validated.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narenda Modi congratulated ISRO on their feat and wished them luck for future endeavours.
ANI images showing the solid-fuel booster lofting the RLV technology demonstrator before the descent phase begins. Source: ANI_news/Twitter
On Monday morning, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully flight tested its ‘Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator’ (RLV-TD) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This winged craft, with its distinctive twin tail-fins, is intended as a key step toward the space agency’s goal of creating a reusable launch vehicle that could cut launch costs by as much as nine-tenths.
In the flight test, the RLV-TD was carried aloft by a rocket booster and reached an altitude of about 65 km. It then descended, reaching a peak velocity of five times the speed of sound, before landing in the Bay of Bengal about 13 minutes later. “The vehicle’s navigation, guidance and control system accurately steered the vehicle during this phase for safe descent,” an ISRO release said, and the craft successfully survived the “high temperatures of re-entry with the help of its Thermal Protection System.”
ISRO’s current conception for such a reusable launcher is to have a two-stage-to-orbit configuration. A winged first stage would incorporate an advanced air-breathing propulsion system that takes in air as it flies to burn the fuel carried onboard. This stage would take the second stage and payload high up into the atmosphere and, after separating from the latter, return to land on a runway.
The second stage would accelerate the payload the rest of the way using conventional rocket propulsion. Afterward, this second stage too would be brought back to the ground. However, such an advanced launch vehicle may materialise only “some 20 years from now”, according to K. Sivan, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, ISRO’s lead centre for launch-vehicle development.
But with SpaceX, the American spaceflight company started by entrepreneur Elon Musk, promising to achieve rocket reuse and bring about lower launch costs with existing technology, ISRO has some plans to ensure it remains competitive in the short-term as well.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with just two stages powered by liquid engines, has carried satellites into orbit and sent its Dragon capsule, loaded with cargo, to dock with the International Space Station. On three such flights, the rocket’s first stage, after separating from the second stage, fired its engines again and successfully made a controlled descent back to earth. On one occasion, it returned and made a vertical touchdown a short distance from the launch pad it had left a short time earlier. Then, in two recent flights, it landed on a drone ship stationed out in the ocean.
SpaceX intends to reuse the first stages that return but has yet to demonstrate this capability. The company’s president, Gwynne Shotwell has indicated that such reuse could lead to a 30% saving in costs.
Sivan made it clear that ISRO’s immediate priorities are to make its own launch vehicles more reliable, increase the payload they are able to carry and reduce the cost of their manufacturing. If the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which can launch a 2.2-tonne communications satellite, is able to carry a 3.5-tonne satellite, “the vehicle becomes more efficient,” he remarked. And with vehicle cost remaining unchanged, the cost per kg for the satellite it launches comes down.
In the case of the next generation GSLV Mk-III rocket, its payload capability could be increased from four tonnes to six tonnes. Then, substituting a semi-cryogenic engine, which is currently being developed, for the two Vikas liquid propellant engines in the rocket’s core booster could further raise its payload to 7.5 tonnes.
Vehicle costs could also be reduced. One measure being considered is to shift from maraging steel used for the big solid boosters that form the first stage of the PSLV and the GSLV to a cheaper steel, Sivan said.
In addition, ISRO was “very seriously” thinking of retrieving and reusing the core boosters of the GSLV and GSLV Mk-III in a SpaceX-like manner, according to him. The next generation Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle could also be designed with such reuse in mind.
The GSLV’s first stage, along with the four liquid-propellant strap-on boosters attached to it, account for almost three-fourths of the launch vehicle’s costs. “If we are able to recover and reuse [it], our reduction in cost will be maximum,” he said.
The GSLV’s payload would be halved if the the rocket’s first stage and strap-ons were manoeuvred back to the SDSC. However, the loss in payload would come to only about 80 kg if the stage soft-landed where it would naturally fall after separation. India could take advantage of the Andaman Islands and get the first stage to land there after equatorial launches from Sriharikota, Sivan remarked.
Gopal Raj is a science journalist based in Thiruvananthapuram. He has written extensively about the Indian space programme, including a book, Reach for the Stars: The Evolution of India’s Rocket Programme.
Isro takes the first step in developing reusable launch vehicle
Successfully tests RLV-technology demonstrator, a small aircraft-like winged structure; vehicle to achieve low-cost space access
India's first reusable launch vehicle (RLV-TD) successfully lifts off from Sriharikota
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Monday successfully took a first step in developing a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV).
The organisation successfully tested RLV-TD (technology demonstrator). It is a small, aircraft-like, winged structure.
A spokesperson from Isro said that RLV-TD HEX-01 mission was accomplished successfully. The lift-off happened at 7 am.
The RLV-TD is a rocket-aircraft combination measuring about 17 m, whose first stage is a solid propellant booster rocket and the second stage is a 6.5-m long aircraft-like winged structure sitting atop the rocket.
The RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that has been considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.
A winged Reusable Launch Vehicle technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) has been configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, namely, hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.
These technologies will be developed in phases through a series of experimental flights. The first in the series is the hypersonic flight experiment (HEX), followed by the landing experiment (LEX), return flight experiment (REX) and scramjet propulsion experiment (SPEX). Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator Hypersonic Experiment (RLV-TD HEX1) wherein the hypersonic aero-thermo dynamic characterization of winged re-entry body along with autonomous mission management to land at a specified location and characterization of hot structures are planned to be demonstrated.
Earlier Dr K Sivan, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, where the RLV-TD was designed, assembled and where it underwent basic tests, said that the objective is to achieve hypersonic speeds to test the characterisation of the winged body’s re-entry, its control and guidance systems, autonomous mission management to land at a specific location at sea and testing of hot structures that make up the structure of the RLV.
The test is termed as Hypersonic Experiment 1 (HEX-1).
The first test launch HEX1 is a very preliminary step and Isro has to go a long way before it could be called a re-usable launch system. But these are very essential steps Isro has taken.
A reusable launch vehicle is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access, says the space organisation.
He was quoted saying a conventional launch vehicle (LV) spends the lowest time of its flight in the atmosphere, whereas the RLV system spends all the time in the atmosphere.
The technology of an RLV is much more complex basically arising from the design of the control and guidance systems, he pointed out.
The objective of the RLV programme of ISRO is to enable the vehicle traverse a very wide range of flight regimes from Mach 0 to Mach 25 based on air-breathing propulsion for achieving two-stage-to-orbit (TSTO) launch capability.
Quelle: BS / Frams: INA
Swadeshi Space Shuttle Tests, ISRO's 'Mission Accomplished': 10 Facts
SRIHARIKOTA: India successfully tested its first-ever swadeshi or indigenous space shuttle today as its scale model - the Re-Usable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator or RLV-TD - was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 7 am. Nearly 20 minutes after its lift-off, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced, "mission accomplished".
Here are 10 must-know facts about the big launch:
The 6.5 metre-long scale model of the re-usable launch vehicle weighs about 1.75 tonnes and was made at a cost of Rs. 95 crore. It was built at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram by a team of 600 scientists over five years.
Re-usable technology aims to help reduce the cost of launching objects into space by 10 times. It costs about $ 20,000 to send a kilogram in space currently.
Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO plans to test two more such prototypes before the final version which will be about six times larger at around 40 metres and will take off around 2030.
After the test flight was declared successful, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated scientists at ISRO and tweeted: “Launch of India's first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the result of the industrious efforts of our scientists. Congrats to them.”
The spacecraft was launched atop a nine-ton rocket engine that has been designed to burn slowly to accommodate vertical lifting of a winged body.
After the launch, the space shuttle flew to an altitude of 70 kilometres and then engaged in a free-gliding flight that started with an initial velocity five times that of sound. It then landed on a stretch of water in the Bay of Bengal some 500 kilometres from Sriharikota.
This was the first time that ISRO flew a winged body and brought it back to land on a make-shift runway. In further tests, an undercarriage will be placed to make it land, possibly at Sriharikota.
The final RLV will be about 40 meters in length and will also be able carry Indian astronauts. On this first flight, the RLV-TD will not be recovered but the data collected will be used to improve the designs, paving the runway to the final model.
No other country is currently operationally flying a winged spacecraft into space - the US retired its space shuttles in 2011 and the Russians flew theirs only once in 1989.
In a race to master re-usable technology for space shuttles, the RLV will be pitted against the likes of SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Blue Origin's New Shephard rocket - both the companies have already partially tested re-usable space shuttles.
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India successfully tests indigenous space shuttle
Built by team of 600 scientists at a cost of Rs. 95 crore over 5 years
It will help reduce cost of launching objects into space by 10 times
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Indigenous technology demonstrator of reusable launch vehicle tested successfully
Indigenous technology demonstrator of reusable launch vehicle tested successfully
This experiment of ISRO is only a very preliminary step towards developing reusable launch vehicles.
India on Monday successfully launched the first technology demonstrator of indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and reentering the atmosphere, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
A booster rocket with the RLV-TD lifted up at 7 a.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, and the launch vehicle separated from it at an altitude of 50 km.
The RLV-TD or winged space plane then climed to another 20 km and began its descent. It re-entered to earth's atmosphere at an hypersonic speed of more than 5 Mach and touched down the Bay of Bengal between Chennai and the Andaman archipelago.
Known as hypersonic flight experiment, it was a 10-minute mission from liftoff to splashdown.
An ISRO spokesman said the mission was accomplished successfully. "Everything went according to the projectory, he said adding that the winged space plane would not be recovered from the sea.
This successful experiment of ISRO is only a very preliminary step towards developing reusable launch vehicles.
Several flights of RLV-TD will have to be undertaken before it really becomes a reusable launch system to put satellites into orbit.
M.C. Dathan, former director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, said: "The mission was successful. And the RLV-TD is healthy and floating on the sea."
RLV, being dubbed as India’s own space shuttle, is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access, according to ISRO scientists.
RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle, ISRO said.
It has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion, it said.
All you need to know about the project
» India’s space port at Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh will witness the launch of the indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD). After the launch, it will be glide back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal.
» The RLV-TD is unlikely to be recovered from sea during this experiment as it is expected that the vehicle will disintegrate on impact with water since it is not designed to float.
» The purpose of the experiment is to help the shuttle glide over a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, situated 500 km from the coast.
» India’s frugal engineers believe the solution to reducing cost of launching satellites into orbit is to recycle the rocket or make it reusable.
» Scientists at ISRO believe that they could reduce the cost by as much as 10 times if reusable technology succeeds, bringing it down to $2,000 per kg.
» K. Sivan, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, says, “These are just the first baby steps towards the big Hanuman leap.”
» The final version will take at least 10-15 years to get ready.
» The special booster or the first stage is powered using a solid fuel and it will hoist the RLV-TD prototype to about 70 km into the atmosphere from where the descent will begin.
» During the descent phase, small thrusters will help the vehicle navigate itself to the landing area.
» The making of the Indian space shuttle or RLV-TD has taken five years and the government has invested Rs. 95 crore in the project. This flight will test the capability of the vehicle to survive a re-entry at speeds higher than that of sound.
Quelle: THE HINDU
Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) Images