Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) informed that it successfully conducted the autonomous test landing mission of the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Karnataka̵7;s Chitradurga on Sunday. A statement issued by ISRO said, “India achieved it. ISRO joined by DRDO 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 the statement, the RLV took off at 7:10 am by a Chinook Helicopter of the Indian Air Force.
The release of RLV was autonomous. Then using the Integrated Navigation, Guidance & control system, the RLV completed an autonomous landing on the ATR at 7:40 AM. With that, ISRO successfully achieved the autonomous landing of a space vehicle. The statement said, “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. LEX utilized several indigenous systems. Localized Navigation systems, instrumentation, and sensor systems, etc. were developed by ISRO.”
RLV lands on a runway pic.twitter.com/hXdKlII57J— ISRO (@isro) April 2, 2023
“ISRO had demonstrated the re-entry of its winged vehicle RLV-TD in the HEX mission in May 2016. The re-entry of a hypersonic sub-orbital vehicle marked a major accomplishment in developing Reusable Launch Vehicles. The LEX began with an Integrated Navigation test in 2019 and followed multiple Engineering Model Trials and Captive Phase tests in subsequent years”, reads the statement.
Along with ISRO, Indian Air Force (IAF), Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), and Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) contributed to this test. Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, VSSC, and Shyam Mohan N, Programme Director, ATSP guided the teams.
Dr Jayakumar M, Project Director, RLV was the Mission Director, and Muthupandian J, Associate Project Director, RLV was the Vehicle Director for the mission. Ramakrishna, Director, ISTRAC was present on the occasion. Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, DOS Somanath witnessed the test and congratulated the team.With LEX, the dream of an Indian Reusable Launch Vehicle arrives one step closer to reality, said the ISRO officials.