‘Pushpak’ lands successfully; ISRO achieves a significant milestone

RNS: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a significant milestone on Friday with the successful completion of the Pushpak Reusable Landing Vehicle (RLV) LEX 02 experiment. The experiment took place at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka, on March 22.

This experiment is part of a series of experiments conducted by ISRO, with this being the second in the series. The RLV-LEX-02 mission demonstrated the RLV’s ability to autonomously land from challenging starting conditions after being released from a helicopter. This mission builds on the success of the previous mission.

The experiment involved hoisting Pushpak using a Chinook chopper belonging to the Indian Air Force and launching it at an altitude of 4.5 km. The winged vehicle made adjustments to both cross-range and downrange parameters before landing on the runway without human intervention. Various technologies, including a braking parachute, landing gear brakes, and nose wheel steering, worked together to ensure a precise landing.

The mission aimed to verify essential technologies in navigation, control systems, landing gear, and deceleration systems, mimicking the high-speed landing circumstances that an RLV would experience upon returning from space. The successful reuse of flying hardware and systems from the RLV-LEX-01 demonstrated ISRO’s potential to create indigenous technologies for space missions.

ISRO Chairman S. Somanath and VSSC Director S. Unnikrishnan Nair lauded the flawless execution of the mission and highlighted the significant breakthroughs in terminal phase manoeuvring, landing, and energy management in completely autonomous modes. These advancements pave the way for future orbital re-entry missions.

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