Chidradurga (Karnataka): The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully conducted the autonomous test landing of the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Karnataka’s Chitradurga on Sunday.
In a tweet, the ISRO said, “India achieved it! ISRO, joined by @DRDO_India @IAF_MCC, successfully conducted the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX) at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka in the early hours on April 2, 2023.”
According to a statement by the space agency, the RLV took off at 7:10am with a Chinook Helicopter of the Indian Air Force as an underslung load and flew to a height of 4.5 km. The RLV performed approach and landing manoeuvres using the integrated navigation, guidance and control system and completed an autonomous landing on the ATR airstrip at 7:40am.
“The autonomous landing was carried out under the exact conditions of a space re-entry vehicle’s landing —high speed, unmanned, precise landing from the same return path— as if the vehicle arrives from space,” the statement added.
The Indian Air Force (IAF), Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), and Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) also contributed to the test.
What is Reusable Launch Vehicle or RLV?
According to the ISRO, RLV is essentially a space plane with a low lift to drag ratio requiring an approach at high glide angles that necessitated a landing at high velocities of 350 kmph. LEX utilized several indigenous systems. Localized Navigation systems based on pseudolite systems, instrumentation, and sensor systems, etc. were developed by ISRO.
RLV's autonomous approach and landing pic.twitter.com/D4tDmk5VN5
— ISRO (@isro) April 2, 2023