India to test reusable launch vehicle

India will test a hypersonic reusable launch vehicle, the first step towards building a space shuttle, later this year.

The Wednesday launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), carrying a Space Recovery Capsule (SRE) will help the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) gather data to develop a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) that will return to earth after placing a satellite in orbit.

“We aim to marry a Supersonic Combustion RAMJET (or SCRAMJET) engine, an advanced jet engine, with a reusable launch vehicle (RLV). Such a vehicle will take off by the year-end,” B N Suresh, director of the Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) said at a theme session on ‘Space Applications for Planet Earth’ at the ongoing 94th Indian Science Congress here.

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