Pushpak, ISRO’s reusable launch vehicle

Jun 25, 2024

Current Affair 1:


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proudly achieved a third consecutive success in the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Landing EXperiment (LEX) on June 23, 2024.

Following the success of the RLV LEX-01 and LEX-02 missions, RLV LEX-03 re-demonstrated the autonomous landing capability of the RLV under more challenging release conditions (cross range of 500 m against 150 m for LEX-02) and more severe wind conditions.

The winged vehicle, named ‘Pushpak’, was released from an Indian Air Force Chinook Helicopter at an altitude of 4.5 km. From a release point 4.5 km away from the runway, Pushpak autonomously executed cross-range correction manoeuvres, approached the runway and performed a precise horizontal landing at the runway centreline.

What an RLV is?

ISRO’s RLV-TD (technology demonstrator) is one of the most challenging endeavours towards developing essential technologies for a fully reusable launch vehicle to enable low-cost access to space.

The configuration of RLV-TD is similar to that of an aircraft and combines the complexity of both the launch vehicle and the aircraft.

The winged RLV-TD — configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing and powered cruise flight — will be scaled up in the coming years to become the first stage of India’s reusable two-stage orbital launch vehicle.


The RLV-TD, however, is not the first such launch vehicle. Government and private players worldwide have experimented with partial and fully reusable technology for their launchers for cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

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