CHENNAI: Could the demonstration of a model of re-usable launch vehicle by Indian space research organisation boost India’s dream of building a hypersonic aircraft?
Space scientists feel so. India is testing a model of re-usable launch vehicle where the hypersonic flight characterstics and guidance systems of the vehicle are tested. Dr K Sivan, director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre said that India’s mettle in space exploration would be unravelled during the demonstration of a model of re-usable launch vehicle by the end of this year.
Talking about the launch of the model of re-usable launch vehicle, Sivan said that it will be one-sixth of the size of aircraft. The model will be a hypersonic flight experiment where the hypersonic flight characterstics and guidance systems of the vehicle are tested. “We will be testing the aerodynamics of hypersonic speed vehicle,” said Sivan.
Talking to Express on the sidelines of All India Federation of Master Printers-RICOH National Awards for Excellence in Printing here on Friday, Sivan said that the re-usable launch vehicle is crucial for Indian space research and would reduce the cost drastically.
He said that usually the cost of launching a satellite is Rs 300 crore. “Of the total satellite vehicle only 20 per cent is the propellant cost and rest is hardware which falls into the sea,” said Sivan.
What we are planning is that the launch vehicle which will return back and land like a aircraft rather than falling into the sea. “If successful this would reduce the cost of space exploration as we can reuse the same hardware again to launch the satellite,” said Sivan.
“If successful, the cost of launching space missions would come down by 80 per cent,” he said.
However, to develop a re-usable launch vehicle, India would need 20 to 30 critical technology breakthroughs. Some of these include thermal protection system, mission management where the aircraft can be flown pilotless, said Sivan.