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Launch vehicle will automatically land on earth from space, another miracle of ISRO

Bengaluru:Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has achieved new heights. The Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission or RLV-LEX was successfully tested on Sunday morning. The national space agency said that the test was conducted at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Chitradurga, Karnataka. “With this, ISRO has achieved a breakthrough in the field of autonomous landing of a launch vehicle,” a statement said. ISRO said, ‘With LEX, India has moved one step closer to its goal in the field of reusable launch.’ For the first time in the world, a ‘wing body’ will be taken to an altitude of 4.5 kilometers with the help of a helicopter and released for an autonomous landing on the runway. The RLV flew to an altitude of 4.5 km (above mean sea level) at 07:10 am IST by Indian Air Force’s Chinook helicopter. After reaching the set parameters, the RLV was released from a horizontal distance of 4.6 km in mid-air, based on the command of the Mission Management Computer. 10 parameters including position, velocity, altitude etc. were monitored and on completion of these the RLV was released. The process of release of RLV was autonomous.

Satellite launching will become more economical

The RLV began its descent using the Integrated Navigation, Guidance and Control System and made an autonomous landing at 7:40 am IST. The autonomous landing was performed under the exact conditions of a space re-entry vehicle landing. “Adaptation to contemporary technologies developed for RLV LEX makes ISRO’s other launch vehicles more economical as well,” the statement said.

ISRO had earlier successfully tested the re-entry capability of the RLV-TD vehicle under the HEX (Hypersonic Flight Experiment) mission in May 2016, which is a significant milestone in the direction of developing a reusable launch vehicle.

Apart from ISRO, Indian Air Force, Army Airworthiness and Certification Center, Aeronautical Development Establishment and Air Delivery Research and Development Establishment contributed significantly to this test. S Somnath, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO was among those who witnessed the test.

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