NEW DELHI: In what could bring down the cost of access to space, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will carry out a test flight of Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) by second quarter of 2015, which will bring down the cost of satellite launches in India.
The cost of access to space is the major deterrent in space exploration and space utilization and a reusable launch vehicle is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access.
Technology Demonstrator winged body vehicle weighing 1.5 tonnes will be lifted to a height of 70 km using solid booster, thus attaining five times the speed of sound, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh said in reply to a question Lok Sabha.
“Development of Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV) is a technical challenge and it involves development of cutting edge technologies. The magnitude of cost reduction depends on development and realization of fully reusable launch vehicle and its degree of reusability,” said Singh.
The RLV-TD will take off like an airplane and thereafter will descend by gliding and splashing down into the sea. This test flight would demonstrate the Hypersonic aerodynamics characteristics, Avionics system, Thermal protection system, Control system and Mission management.
ISRO has taken steps to develop next generation launch vehicle GSLV MkIII, capable of launching 4 ton class communication satellites to Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit, which would bring down the cost of satellite launches. The reusable launch vehicle is important because space orbiting currently costs the country $5000 per km and this could bring down cost by ten times.
ISRO is scheduled to launch the fourth satellite of seven satellites required in the constellation of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to provide positioning and navigational services in Indian mainland and surrounding region up to 1500 Km.
Of the seven satellites in a constellation, three satellites will be in geostationary orbit and four satellites in geosynchronous orbit.
“The objective of IRNSS is to provide positioning services over Indian region with an absolute position accuracy of better than 20 metres. IRNSS provides two services namely Standard Positioning Service (SPS) for Civilian users and Restricted Service (RS) for strategic users,” said SIngh.
Out of the seven satellites required in the constellation, three satellites namely, IRNSS-1A, 1B & 1C have already been successfully placed in the orbit. The fourth satellite IRNSS-1D is scheduled for launch during March 2015.
“The work on remaining three satellites is in progress. The associated ground segment for maintaining the satellites in orbit, monitoring the constellation status, correction of the orbital parameters and navigation data uploading is in place,” Singh added.