ISRO to build world's first fully reusable rockets
Bengaluru, Jan 17: The Indian Space Research Organisation could soon build a launch vehicle with not just one reusable component, but two. This would make the entire two-stage rocket suitable for multiple launch missions, according to a Times of India report. ISRO will conduct a test in June-July for the advanced version of the reusable launch technology (RLV). The landing strip mentioned above could be constructed in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but there has been no real confirmation of this proposal.
ISRO chairman K Sivan, had unveiled that the Indian space agency is planning to develop world class propulsion technology to ensure cost effective re-usable, recoverable, re-startable and reliable space launches.
"We are working on a reusable launch technology in order to recover the first and second stages of a rocket so that we can reuse them to cut cost and carry heavier payloads. The first rocket will be recovered on a vertical landing sport on the sea like Space X has been doing it with its Falcon rocket. However, recover the second stage is not simple. We are, therefore, developing a winged body like a space shuttle. This shuttle will be attached as a second stage in a rocket.
It will carry the top portion of the rocket comprising a satellite or spacecraft to space. Once it injects the satellite in its orbit, the shuttle will glide back to earth and land on an airstrip like an aircraft. This second stage recovery has never been tried by any other space agency in the world, not even SpaceX," said ISRO chairman K Sivan, speaking to the publication.
ISRO had conducted the first such test on May 23, 2016.
Private space agency, SpaceX, has a long term goal to reuse both first & second stages of their orbital launch vehicle and the company has achieved a successful landing and recovery of a first stage in December 2015. However, recovering the second stage is much more difficult and no space agency including SpaceX has achieved this so far. It is due to the heat shield, landing engines and other equipment required to achieve it.