ISRO’s Reusable Spacecraft Ambitions Take Flight with Pushpak

March 22, 2024
ISRO Pushpak

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) made significant strides in its space program today with the successful landing of its Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), named ‘Pushpak.’ The landing took place at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Challakere, Karnataka, at approximately 7:00 am.

This marks the third successful landing mission for the Pushpak RLV, following earlier successes in 2016 and 2023. The RLV is a key part of ISRO’s efforts to develop a fully reusable launch vehicle, which has the potential to drastically reduce the cost of accessing space.

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“Today’s success is a testament to India’s growing prowess in space technology,” said ISRO Chairperson S. Somanath. “Pushpak is a bold step towards making space access more affordable, and we’re proud of the team that has made this possible.”

How the Landing Worked

The Pushpak RLV was airlifted to an altitude of 4.5 kilometers by an Indian Air Force helicopter. Once it reached specific predetermined parameters, it was released. The onboard navigation system then guided Pushpak to a precise landing on the runway, overcoming wind, velocity, and other challenges.

ISRO envisions the Pushpak technology playing a vital role in future missions. The reusable upper stage, which houses expensive electronics, could be used to refuel orbiting satellites or retrieve them for refurbishment. This aligns with India’s goal of minimizing space debris.

The Pushpak RLV features advanced navigation systems, sensors, locally made landing gear, and other cutting-edge technologies. It took a decade of dedicated work by ISRO scientists and engineers to develop the 6.5-meter, 1.75-ton vehicle.

ISRO plans to eventually expand the RLV-TD program to form the first stage of a reusable two-stage orbital launch vehicle. This development would further cement India’s position as a major player in the global space industry.

Aditya Chaudhary

Aditya Chaudhary is a tech reviewer, Technology enthusiast and Tech news writer at The Ditible. He has 3 years of experience as Tech writer.

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