ISRO Plans To Go One Step Ahead Of SpaceX: Tests RLV Technology To Reuse Both First, Second Stage Rockets
ISRO Plans To Go One Step Ahead Of SpaceX: Tests RLV Technology To Reuse Both First, Second Stage RocketsISRO’s GSAT-7A launch (Official Website)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is now looking to perfect its reusable launch vehicle (RLV) technology so that first and second stages of a rocket could be reused with the objective of lowering the cost of launching satellites into space, reports Times Of India.

As part of this plan, ISRO will experiment with an advanced version of the RLV in June or July.

"We are working on a reusable launch technology in order to recover the first and second stages of a rocket so that we can reuse them to cut cost and carry heavier payloads.”

“The first rocket stage will be recovered on a vertical landing spot on the sea like SpaceX has been doing it with its Falcon rocket. However, recovering the second stage is not simple.”

“We are, therefore, developing a winged body like a space shuttle. This shuttle will be attached as a second stage in a rocket. It will carry the top portion of the rocket comprising a satellite or spacecraft to space. Once it injects the satellite in its orbit, the shuttle will glide back to the earth and land on an airstrip like an aircraft," ISRO Chairman K Sivan explained.

He mentioned how no one else had yet been able to achieve second stage recovery anywhere in the world, including major private player SpaceX. Previously, ISRO demonstrated the use of RLV technology for the first time in 2016 when the vehicle went up to a height of 70 km and was then manoeuvred back upon the earth into the Indian Ocean.

Sivan stated that this time the test would be conducted differently; a helicopter would be used to transport the shuttle to a significant height from where the winged body will be released and will glide toward the earth and make its landing on an airstrip. Another RLV test from the orbit is also in the pipeline.

Mastering RLV technology would allow ISRO to drastically improve its share of the global satellite launch market, which is currently dominated by SpaceX with over 50 per cent market share, while the Indian space agency’s share being a mere 0.6 per cent.

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