ISRO Moving Towards Making Reusable Launch Vehicle: ISRO Chairman


New Delhi: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is moving towards making a full-scale reusable launch vehicle, K. Sivan, Secretary, Department of Space, said on Wednesday.

“Very recently, we successfully conducted flight test of a hypersonic reusable launch vehicle technology demonstrator as well as air-breathing engine technology demonstrator,” he said.

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Dr. Sivan, who is also Chairman, ISRO, and Space Commission, Bengaluru, was speaking at the 34th convocation of Bharathidasan University.

Alongside contributing to all major flagship programmes of the country, ISRO was moving forward to take the space programme to the next level for future generation. The guided approach landing with the help of GAGAN (GPS-aided GEO Augmented Navigation) would immediately benefit nearly 50 airports in India. GAGAN services had also been planned to be extended to the railways for safety at unmanned level crossings.

Earlier, after the historic launch of the world’s most powerful rocket of Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Dr K Sivan said it is “a quantum leap in space technology. I want to congratulate Elon Musk on the significant accomplishment”.

Like SpaceX, ISRO, too, has been working on reusable technology for quite some years to reduce mission costs. The ISRO chairman told, “Our research and development department is working on three technology demonstrators. First one on the orbital re-entry of the vehicle, second on the landing of the reusable launch vehicle on the airstrip and third on reusable rocket stages. ISRO’s research work on these three technologies is simultaneously going on and we hope to do a second technology demonstrator test (first experiment on reusable launch vehicle was in 2016) within two years.”

Dr Sivan, however, said, “Our foremost priority is to increase the lifting capability of GSLV Mk III (Isro’s ‘fat boy’) from 4 tonnes to 6.5 tonnes. The overall objective is to reduce the cost of launch vehicles. By increasing the lifting capability, we don’t have to depend on the European spaceport for launching our heavier satellites weighing over 6 tonnes.”