India’s Reusable Launch Vehicle completes autonomous landing test


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully conducted the autonomous landing of its Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV).

The test dubbed RLV LEX was conducted at the Chitradurga Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), in the southwestern state of Karnataka, on April 2, 2023.

The RLV prototype was airlifted by a Chinook Helicopter of the Indian Air Force as an underslung load, before being released in mid-air, at an altitude of 4.5 kilometers.

The unmanned aircraft then completed an autonomous approach and landing on the ATR runway.

“The RLV LEX demanded several state-of-the-art technologies including accurate Navigation hardware and software, Pseudolite system, Ka-band Radar Altimeter, NavIC receiver, indigenous Landing Gear, Aerofoil honey-comb fins and brake parachute system,” ISRO commented.

With the RLV, India hopes to develop a low-cost reusable space vehicle capable of launching satellites. These reusable shuttles would greatly reduce costs compared to a traditional rocket launcher.

Footage of the autonomous approaching and landing of India’s Reusable Launch Vehicle (Credit: ISRO)
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