India’s RLV-TD Likely to Touch Record Mach 5 Speeds
The Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), whose launch is planned for May this year, will also be the first Indian ‘aircraft structure’ to fly up to Mach 5 speeds, according to ISRO officials. To compare, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) touches a maximum speed of Mach 1.6.
The RLV-TD is essentially ISRO’s first “baby step” towards building a workable RLV, which will bring down launch expenses phenomenally. The 1.75 tonne, 6.5 metre-long model is due to leave the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) here at Thumba in a week’s time for Sriharikota spaceport via Bangalore.
In fact, the aircraft-shaped technology demonstrator will achieve Mach 5 speeds twice, during ascent atop a booster rocket and amid final descent after separation from it from a height of 70 kms.
“It is actually designed to achieve Mach 6 speeds,” sources said. The `95-crore mission is the first of a series of technology demonstrations ISRO is planning to conduct before actually designing and building an advanced RLV, which is expected to materialise by 2030. “Acoustic tests will be conducted at Bangalore before the RLV-TD is taken to Sriharikota,” VSSC director K Sivan said.
Shaped like a tiny aircraft, with double delta wings and twin fins, the technology demonstrator is one-fifth the size of the actual vehicle planned. It will be taken up to 70 kms by a booster rocket and separated at that height to glide back to earth. The vehicle will land in the Bay of Bengal, some 560 kms from Sriharikota. ISRO officials said that, unlike the earlier SRE-1 and Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment missions, the RLV-TD will not be recovered from the sea.
source:- new Indian express