Reusable Rocket Technology

Prelims level : Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Mains level : Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics etc.
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Why in News?

  • ISRO is working on reusable technology for reducing the cost of access to space including the development of a winged body unmanned reusable launch vehicle (RLV) for launching payloads into low earth orbits.

ISRO’s Prototype RLV:

  • ISRO has successfully developed a scaled down (1:5) technology demonstration version of Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) vehicle.
  • It has successfully carried out the first experimental mission on May 23, 2016 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
  • In this mission, critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control and reusable thermal protection system have been successfully demonstrated.


  • Development of Reusable Launch Vehicles is a technical challenge and it involves the development of many cutting edge technologies.
  • A series of technology demonstration missions would be required to validate these technologies.
  • In the next phase, an autonomous runway landing experiment is planned releasing the RLV-TD vehicle from a helicopter to demonstrate the runway approach and landing capability.
  • This will be followed by an end-to-end orbital re-entry mission demonstration using a Technology Demonstration Vehicle boosted by propulsion systems.
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