ISRO successfully conducted the third and final 'Pushpak' reusable launch vehicle landing experiment

ISRO successfully conducted the third and final 'Pushpak' reusable launch vehicle landing experiment


The winged vehicle Pushpak was released from an Indian Air Force Chinook helicopter at an altitude of 4.5 km.

The winged vehicle Pushpak was launched from a Chinook helicopter of the Indian Air Force at an altitude of 4.5 km. | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on June 23 completed the third Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Landing Experiment (LEX) at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Chitradurga, Karnataka.

This is the third and final test of the series of LEX (03) which was held at 7.10 a.m.

ISRO said, “Following the success of RLV LEX-01 and LEX-02 missions, RLV LEX-03 re-demonstrated the autonomous landing capability of RLV under more challenging release conditions (cross range of 500 m as against 150 m for LEX-02) and more severe wind conditions.”

On Sunday morning, the winged vehicle Pushpak was released from an Indian Air Force Chinook helicopter at an altitude of 4.5 kilometres.

ISRO said that from the release point located 4.5 km from the runway, Pushpak automatically executed the cross-range correction procedure, approached the runway and made a precise horizontal landing on the centre line of the runway.

“Due to the vehicle's aerodynamic configuration with low lift-to-drag ratio, the landing velocity exceeded 320 kmph, as against 260 kmph for a commercial aircraft and 280 kmph for a typical fighter aircraft. After landing, the vehicle speed was reduced to about 100 kmph using the brake parachute, after which the landing gear brakes were applied to slow down and stop the vehicle on the runway. During this ground roll phase, Pushpak uses its rudder and nose wheel steering systems to autonomously maintain a stable and precise ground roll along the runway,” the space agency said.

Also Read | ISRO successfully conducts second 'Pushpak' reusable landing vehicle landing experiment

It said the mission simulated the approach and landing interfaces and high-speed landing conditions for a vehicle returning from space, thereby validating ISRO's expertise in acquiring the most critical technologies required for development of a reusable launch vehicle (RLV).

“Through this mission, advanced guidance algorithms facilitating longitudinal and lateral plane error corrections have been validated, which is essential for future orbital re-entry missions,” the space agency said.

It said RLV-LEX uses multisensor fusion that includes sensors such as inertial sensor, radar altimeter, flush air data system, pseudolight system and NAVIC. Notably, the RLV-LEX-03 mission reused the winged body and flight systems from the LEX-02 mission without any modifications, demonstrating the robustness of ISRO's design to reuse flight systems for multiple missions.

ISRO said, “This mission simulates the approach and landing interface and high-speed landing conditions for a space return vehicle, which will validate ISRO's expertise in acquiring the most critical technologies required for development of Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV).”


join us for quick updates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enable Notifications OK No thanks