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ISRO Successfully Conducts RLV Autonomous Landing Mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted their Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX).

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Sun Apr 02 2023Written by Zac Aubert

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted their Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX).

The RLV took off from the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), in Chitradurga, Karnatakaoff at 7:10am IST. The RLV was carried under a Chinook Helicopter of the Indian Air Force to a altitude of 4.5km MSL where it was released 4.6km down range from the runway.

The release of the RLV was autonomous, it performed an automated approach and landing using the Integrated Navigation, Guidance, & Control Systems.

RLV autonomously landing on the ATR airstrip at 7:40am IST marking the ISRO first autonomous landing of a space vehicle.

The development of the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) is a highly challenging undertaking for the ISRO, aimed at creating key technologies for a fully reusable launch vehicle that would allow for affordable access to space.

The RLV's design is akin to that of an aircraft, combining the intricacies of both launch vehicles and aircraft. The winged RLV serves as a flying test platform for assessing various technologies, such as hypersonic flight, self-directed landing, and powered cruise flight.

In May 2016 ISRO demonstrated the re-entry of its winged vehicle RLV-TD. This mission was followed up by the HEX mission where the RLV landed on a hypothetical runway over the Bay of Benegal.

Credit: ISRO

The RLV-LEX mission was to test the final approach to a specific landing site, flying a designated flight path autonomously at high speeds for a landing at 350 km/h.

Eventually the ISRO will scale the size of the RLV vehicle as it is set to become the first stage of India's reusable two-stage orbital launch vehicle.