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ISRO Conducts Third Mission with Reusable Launch Vehicle “Pushpak”

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Photo Credit : Google

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a significant milestone on March 22, 2024, by successfully conducting its third mission involving the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) named “Pushpak.” The launch occurred at approximately 7 a.m. from the Chalakere Runway in Karnataka’s Aeronautical Test Range (ATR).

Mission Objectives and Significance

The primary goal of the Pushpak mission is to develop essential technologies for a fully reusable launch vehicle, aimed at reducing the cost of space missions and minimizing space debris. ISRO’s efforts in this direction seek to make space access more affordable and facilitate potential applications like satellite refueling or refurbishment.

Launch Details and Technological Complexity

The Pushpak RLV was airlifted to an altitude of around 4.5 km by an Indian Air Force Chinook helicopter before being released. It autonomously approached the runway, made cross-range corrections, and executed a precise landing using advanced systems like brake parachutes and landing gear brakes. ISRO Chairperson S Somanath highlighted the technological significance of the launch, describing it as a bold step for India’s space program.

RLV-TD Project: Technological Challenges and Design

The Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) project represents ISRO’s endeavor to master technologies crucial for a fully reusable launch vehicle. The Pushpak RLV’s design draws inspiration from advanced technology demonstrators like the X-33 and X-34, featuring innovative elements such as double delta wings and active control surfaces.

Previous Missions and Future Plans

ISRO had previously conducted successful RLV missions in 2016 and April of the preceding year, laying the groundwork for scaling up the technology for India’s first reusable two-stage orbital launch vehicle. The Pushpak project, named after the mythological spaceship in the Ramayana, is estimated to have incurred a cost exceeding Rs 100 crore.

Notable Facts and Contributions

Key aspects of the Pushpak mission include the involvement of the Indian Air Force, which provided crucial support with the Chinook helicopter, and the incorporation of advanced elements from various technology demonstrators, contributing to the RLV’s technological prowess and potential applications in space exploration.

Read Also: 

ISRO Chief Somnath Diagnosed with Cancer on Aditya-L1 Launch Day

Tamil Nadu: DMK posters ‘glorifying’ China over ISRO stir row, BJP digs out its ‘past misdeeds’

 

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