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isroThe first technology demonstrator of indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), that can launch satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere, will be flight tested from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on May 23.

“The launch of Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD) is slated for Monday morning from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The launch window is between 7am to 11 am,” a senior ISRO official said.

He said the vehicle will be taken to a height of over 70 km and released for its re-entry into the atmosphere.

This will be the first time ISRO will be launching a winged flight vehicle.

After launch it will be glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 km from the coast.

The mission, known as the hypersonic flight experiment, is expected to last about 10 minutes from liftoff to splashdown.

The mission, known as the hypersonic flight experiment, is expected to last about 10 minutes from liftoff to splashdown.

The government has invested Rs 95 crore into the RLV-TD project.

The RLV-TD which is the scaled-down model of the reusable launch vehicle is unlikely to be recovered from sea during this experiment as it is expected that the vehicle will disintegrate on impact with water since it is not designed to float.

Reusable launch vehicle is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access, according to ISRO scientists.

ISRO said RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.
It has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion, it added.

The 6.5 m long ‘aeroplane’-like structure weigh 1.75 tons and will be hoisted into the atmosphere on a special rocket booster.

The RLV-TD is described as “a very preliminary step” in the development of a reusable rocket, whose final version is expected to take 10-15 years.