The Indian Space Research Organization is preparing to test a scaled-down version of the ‘Swadeshi Space Shuttle.’ It’s known as the ‘Reusable Launch Vehicle,’ or RLV, according to ISRO.
If everything goes according to plan, it will be seen flying over Science City in Challakere, Karnataka, in which the first landing experiment is scheduled.
“We are quietly working on fully reusable rocket technology, with a really low budget, low cost, and low investment,” says ISRO Chairman S Somanath.
Earlier, The United States and Russia had both flown full-fledged winged spacecraft. Russia/USSR only flew its ‘Buran’ vehicle once, in 1988, before the programme was shelved. The Space Shuttle was flown by the United States for 135 missions before being retired in 2011.
Since then, only the United States, China, and India have pursued a re-usable rocket development programme. India’s full-fledged test of reusable launch vehicles, if all goes well, may not happen until the 2030s.
ISRO’s reusability is far more complicated than Space X’s rocket stage recovery experiments, which is why mastering it will take time.