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ISRO experiments with Space-X like reusable vertical landing rockets

ISRO experiments with Space-X like reusable vertical landing rockets
Photo Credit: Reuters
17 Sep, 2021

Indian indigenous launch vehicle GSLV Mk III could soon land vertically, if the studies and mini-projects led by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) bear fruit, according to a report by Wion.

The vertical landing feature could be used in other Indian rockets as well.

Senior officials said that the possibility is being explored for the Mk III, which consists of three stages of engines- solid-fuel, liquid-fuel and cryogenic-fuel. 

ISRO plans to recover the first two rocket stages of the Mk III as this would provide huge cost advantage owing to its reusability, the report said

While the two stages are still reusable, they need to be recovered from the sea or land and then serviced, refurbished, tested and qualified. However, for recovery from land they need to be capable of vertical landing.

In a previous conference, Dr VT Baskar, project director of ISRO’s GSLV Mk III had outlined that recovering the S200 solid-fuel rocket boosters, and L-110 liquid-fuel stage, which are the first and second stages respectively, would offer significant cost advantages, the report said. 

“We have to develop enabling technologies such as the capability to safely land a winged-body or large-body,” Baskar told Wion. 

The experiments are expected to be carried out this year or next year. 

In terms of the changes to the current Mk III, the vehicle’s liquid fuel engine will be replaced with a semi-cryogenic engine, while its C25 Cryogenic will be replaced with a C32 engine.

ISRO will also work on mini electronics in order to reduce the avionics mass, along with using high-strength composite materials for the casing of the rocket motor. 

ISRO’s Dr. S. Unnikrishnan Nair, director, Human Spaceflight Centre, said that two other projects, Xposat, which is a planned space observatory to study polarisation of cosmic X-rays, and Aditya L1, a mission to study the sun, would be launched in the second and third quarter of 2022, the report said.