REUSABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE-PUSHPAK (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     23rd March 2024        

Context: The Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, recently achieved the successful landing of its Reusable Launch Vehicle Pushpak at the Aeronautical Test Range in Challakere, Chitradurga, Karnataka.

About Reusable Launch Vehicle(RLV)

  • About: It is a space plane/shuttle, which can travel to low earth orbits to deliver payloads and return to earth for use again (fully reusable launch vehicle).

oIt is designed as an all-rocket, fully reusable single-stage-toorbit (SSTO) vehicle.

  • Aim: To enable low-cost access to space i.e. capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere.
  • Features: The configuration of RLV-TD is like that of an aircraft and combines the complexity of both launch vehicles and aircraft.

oWinged RLV-TD: configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, namely, hypersonic flight (HEX), autonomous landing (LEX), return flight experiment (REX), powered cruise flight, and Scramjet Propulsion Experiment (SPEX).

Launch Vehicle Pushpak

  • About: Indian Air Force Chinook Helicopter hoisted Pushpak to 4.5 km altitude before release.
  • Autonomous Approach and Landing: Pushpak autonomously navigated towards the runway from 4 km away, adjusting for cross-range factors.
  • Precision Landing and Braking: Pushpak executed a pinpoint landing on the runway and halted using its brake parachute and nose wheel steering system.

AVATAR (Aerobic Vehicle for Trans atmospheric Hypersonic Aerospace TrAnspoRtation)

  • About: It is ISRO’s planned reusable launch vehicle platform which will carry out satellite launches like normal aircraft, takes off vertically and lands back on a runway. It is designed to use ramjets and scramjets for thrust.
  • Note: It is to develop this fully functional AVATAR RLV, that ISRO is conducting a series of RLV – TD technology demonstration missions.

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