Science & Tech

ISRO Performs Final Landing Experiment of Reusable Launch Vehicle

© Photo : ISROISRO achieved its third and final consecutive success in the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Landing EXperiment (LEX) on June 23, 2024.
ISRO achieved its third and final consecutive success in the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Landing EXperiment (LEX) on June 23, 2024. - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.06.2024
This mission replicated the conditions that a spacecraft would encounter when returning from space, demonstrating ISRO's proficiency in acquiring essential technologies crucial for the development of Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLVs), according to the space agency.
ISRO announced on Sunday the successful completion of its third consecutive Reusable Launch Vehicle Landing Experiment, demonstrating the launch vehicle's autonomous landing capability under more challenging conditions.
This mission simulated the approach and landing conditions for a vehicle returning from space, showcasing ISRO's expertise in acquiring critical technologies necessary for Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) development, the space agency stated.
The final test in the Landing Experiment series (LEX-03) took place at 07:10 IST at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka.
Building on the achievements of LEX-01 and LEX-02, LEX-03 re-demonstrated the RLV's ability to autonomously land under increasingly difficult release conditions (with a cross range of 500 meters compared to 150 meters in LEX-02) and severe wind conditions, according to statement released by ISRO.
Named 'Pushpak', the winged vehicle was released from an Indian Air Force Chinook Helicopter at an altitude of 4.5 kilometers and executed cross-range correction maneuvers. It approached the runway and performed a precise horizontal landing at the centerline, it said.
Due to its aerodynamic configuration with a low lift-to-drag ratio, Pushpak achieved a landing velocity exceeding 320 kmph, surpassing typical commercial aircraft (260 kmph) and fighter aircraft (280 kmph) velocities.
ISRO emphasized that post-touchdown, its velocity was reduced to nearly 100 kmph using a brake parachute, followed by deceleration and stoppage on the runway using landing gear brakes.
Throughout the ground roll phase, Pushpak utilized its rudder and nose wheel steering system to autonomously maintain stable and precise movement along the runway.
This mission, overseen by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), was a joint endeavor that included several ISRO centers: the Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota.
ISRO's successful execution of LEX-03 marks a significant milestone in advancing India's capabilities in reusable launch vehicle technology.
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