ISRO successfully demonstrates advanced spacecraft landing technology with RLV-LEX-03 mission in southern India

ISRO successfully demonstrates advanced spacecraft landing technology with RLV-LEX-03 mission in southern India

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a significant milestone with the successful completion of its third Reusable Launch Vehicle Landing Experiment (RLV-LEX-03) in southern India’s Karnataka. 

The incident took place in Chitradurga city on June 23.

Visuals showed ‘Pushpak’, the winged vehicle, adorned with intricate Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) insignia, standing poised. Red smoke billowed from its rear, swirling like fiery tendrils as the vehicle hummed to life. With each controlled maneuver, ‘Pushpak’ gracefully traced arcs against the darkening canvas above, its sleek body slicing through the air with precision. The low rumble of its engines echoed in the vast expanse, a testament to its advanced aerodynamic design. Spectators held their breath as the vehicle executed complex cross-range corrections, the red smoke now a fiery beacon against the fading light. As it descended closer to the runway, the red smoke painted a fleeting trail, marking its path through the sky. The vehicle’s descent was deliberate yet elegant, showcasing ISRO’s mastery over autonomous landing technologies. 

According to reports, conducted at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, this mission marks ISRO’s third consecutive success in testing autonomous landing capabilities for space vehicles.

Named ‘Pushpak’, the winged vehicle was released from an Indian Air Force Chinook Helicopter at an altitude of 2.8 miles. It autonomously performed cross-range correction maneuvers and executed a precise horizontal landing at the runway centerline, overcoming challenging release conditions and severe wind dynamics. The landing velocity of over 198.839 miles per hour underscored the vehicle’s advanced aerodynamic configuration and capability.

The mission simulated high-speed landing conditions akin to vehicles returning from space, validating critical technologies for future Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) development. It highlighted ISRO’s expertise in advanced guidance algorithms and multisensor fusion technologies essential for orbital re-entry missions.

Led by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in collaboration with various ISRO centers, the mission received substantial support from the Indian Air Force, Aeronautical Development Establishment, and other aerospace entities. Chairman of ISRO, Shri. S Somanath, and Director of VSSC, Dr. S Unnikrishnan Nair, commended the team for their dedication and success in advancing India’s space capabilities.

Shri. J Muthupandian served as the Mission Director, with Shri. B Karthik as the Vehicle Director, overseeing the successful execution of the RLV-LEX-03 mission.

The achievement underscores India’s growing prowess in space technology and reaffirms ISRO’s commitment to pioneering advancements in aerospace engineering.

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