Already for tomorrow Indian space agency ISRO is planning to launch their latest technology demonstrator – RLV-TD spaceplane.
India is going to join space agencies which are developing or possessing own spaceplane. RLV-TD is result of last 18 years of research and development which was performed by ISRO and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization. During development of RLV main objective was creating unmanned reusable vehicle which could lift up to 1000 kg to LEO with cost close to $500 per one kilogram. RLV-TD, which is probably scaled model of Avatar spaceplane with first flight planned for 2025, is best sign of potential of ISRO which is able to create own ambitious projects independently. RLV-TD should be considered as part of Avatar program, whose conclusions will serve during creating final two-stage-to-orbit unmanned spaceplane.
Tomorrow’s launch is planned for 09:30 local time (04:00 GMT) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre according to announced NOTAM for this region. Launch vehicle will be S9 solid fueled booster. It is originally used as one of the six boosters supporting PSLV in C version and will be modified to meet demands of the experiment: burn time will be longer (up to 70 seconds) to avoid increasing pressure on RLV-TD over desired limit. It is possible thanks to added Secondary Injection Thrust Vector Control System fueled from separate toroidal tank S9 is fueled with 8.92 t of HTPB with start weigh 10.93 t; its height is 10 m with 1 m of diameter; engine generates thrust at 510 kN. RLV-TD weighs 1750 kg with length of the fuselage at 6.5 m with diameter of 1 m. Wingspan is around 4 m to 5m. Vehicle will perform various tests, mainly devoted to test Thermal Protection System and all materials used for manufacturing prototype during planned reentry when temperature will reach 1200°C. TPS in RLV-TD is based on 600 ceramic tiles; nose cone is made from carbon fiber. Rest of the fuselage is covered with special elastic insulation.
Flight plan for tomorrow test covers flight with speed at least 6 Ma reached at T+90″ on altitude of 30 km. In this moment S9 will turn off its engine. On altitude of 48 km S9 (at T+1’50”) will release RLV-TD which will activate Reaction Control System and continue flight remotely controlled from the ground control station. On altitude of 70 km it will start to perform reentry with angle at around 20° to 45°. After reentry RLV-TD will start series of maneuvers to reduce speed from hypersonic to 3 Ma and test its ability for gliding flight in atmosphere. Sensors will measure pressure, temperature speed and other crucial parameters necessary for further analysis of aerodynamics of the spaceplane during flight. Data will be transmitted to ground control station through S band. After passing range of the 500 km from the coast, at T+10′, RLV-TD will splash into designated landing zone in the waters of Bay of Bengal and will be recovered by Indian Navy and Coast Guard thanks to the C band beacon. Go RLV-TD !