ISRO performed successful test flight of their RLV-TD from Satish Dhavan Space Center.
RLV-TD (Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator) was launched on atop of HS9 solid fueled launch vehicle (which is modified S9 booster used for PSLV-C rocket) two hours earlier than previously announced, today at 01:30 GMT (07:00 IST). Main objective of the test flight was gathering data from onboard sensors installed on RLV-TD for further analysis of aerodynamics of the spaceplane, performing maneuvers in atmospheric flight to confirm that RLV-TD will be able in future to perform horizontal landing, testing of Thermal Protection System (based on 600 tiles installed under the fuselage and wings), nose cone (made from carbon fiber) and other insulation materials used for manufacturing spacecraft and performing separation from lifting rocket.
After liftoff rocket with RLV-TD on atop (spaceplane was not covered with fairing, what is fairly easy to spot on movie from launch) started to rise over Sriharikota; at T+91’1″ HS9 burn was finished and launch vehicle with spaceplane were continuing ballistic flight to altitude of 65 km. Comparing to flight plan announced before mission, it was 8 km higher- separation originally was planned to be performed on altitude of 48 km. Different separation altitude could be result of prolonged burn time of the HS9 and lower speed on altitude of 48 km then it was predicted. RLV-TD reached altitude of 65 km what is 5 km less than previously planned and possibly confirms fact that HS9 needed more time to achieve desired speed to meet demands of Hypersonic Flight Experiment. According to NDTV TV channel, HS9 was able to give speed of 5 Ma to RLV-TD what is 1 Ma less than it was originally planned. On altitude of 65 km spaceplane started reentry and glided to landing zone in the Bay of Bengal 500 km from Satish Dhawan Space Center. Mission lasted for 12’83” planned mission duration time was extended for 2’83” and according to the plan Indian Coast Guard and Navy managed to reach vehicle in the waters of Bay of Bengal.
RLV-TD weight was at 1750 kg with length of the fuselage at 6.5 m; diameter was at 1 m and wingspan is around 4 m to 5m. HS9 launch vehicle was fueled with 8.92 t of HTPB. Start mass of the launch vehicle without payload was 10.93 t with length of 10 m and diameter of 1 m. Single rocket engine generated thrust at 510 kN.