ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said the next big launch of a re-usable space shuttle test mission will be launched in September, bringing down the cost of satellite launch to one-tenth the current cost.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which had tested its cryogenic rocket engines and capsule earlier, will take up the first test mission for re-usable vehicle launch in September, not June as expected earlier.
Similar to US space shuttle program, the re-usable spacecraft will be launched by the Bangalore-based Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to demonstrate the Hypersonic aerodynamics, Avionics system, Thermal protection system, Control system and learn future design changes to the space shuttle.
Since ISRO has already developed and test-launched its next generation launch vehicle GSLV MkIII, capable of launching 4 ton class communication satellites in Geo-synchronous Orbit, ISRO is pinning its hopes on space shuttle project called RLV-TD, which will pave the way for India’s future moon mission and manned mission to moon with the re-entry capable spacecraft.
“The launch vehicle will be landing for the first time in the ocean and the ultimate attempt is to make it land at an airstrip at Sriharikota,” ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told media on Monday.
as the required wind tunnel modelling and other tests had been completed, the next stage involved mounting the capsule on to a launch vehicle. “It is in starting point. There is a long way to go,” he said.
ISRO had launched 11 satellites in the last one year on the way to make navigation system totally indegenous with the successful six launches under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, which will be operationalised next year, becoming the third nation to have its own navigation satellites.
Minister Jitender Singh has launched an Android-based application ‘Sakaar’ or an “augmented reality application” on the occasion to visualise ISRO projects in real time, with three-dimensional models of Mars Missions, satellites, launch vehicles and other projects.
Sakaar consists of 3D models of MOM, RISAT, rockets (PSLV, GSLV Mk-III); videos of INSAT 3D-predicting cyclones, GSLV D5/Cryo, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) orbit insertion, launch video of MOM, 360 degree animated view of MOM; Anaglyph of Mars surface. The sakaar app is available for download at http://www.sac.gov.in/SACSITE/sakaar/index.html. The user can scan the QR code using a QR code reader on the device for downloading the app.
“We will be distributing this in schools and other institutes for free so that students can get a better understanding of our space working,” Mr. Singh added.
Otherwise, the re-usable space shuttle will be a small aeroplane-shaped vehicle weighing 1.5 tonne under the project reusable launch vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) that would bring down the present cost of placing 1 kg satellite down from $5,000 to one-tenth of its cost to $500, according to a quick estimate.
The first launch will be an unmanned space shuttle which will be lifted off by a single solid rocket booster attaining 5 times the speed of sound with nine tonnes of propellants reaching skies at an estimated height of 70 kms and then re-enter earth. It would land on the waters in the Bay of Bengal to be captured by the ISRO with the help of navy vessels.
“The descent speed would be controlled through the fins on the machine. In order to protect the equipment from friction heat when it comes back, necessary protective tiles are fixed,” explained an ISRO official earlier.
The next stage will be to develop a runway similar to the US space shuttle landing that may be required when manned missions are sent to the moon.
The ISRO Chairman informed that various missions are planned for 2015-16 including launch of PSLV-C28 in July, GSLV–D6 in August, ASTROSAT in September. The launch of IRNSS-1F and IRNSS-1G are planned for beginning of the next year 2016, he informed.