Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully conducted the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX), the country’s national space agency said on Sunday.
“India achieved it!,” the agency said on Twitter on Sunday.
According to ISRO, the test was conducted at the Aeronautical Test Range in southern Karnataka state in the early hours of Sunday and the RLV took off at 7.10am local time (0140 GMT) through a Chinook helicopter of the Indian Air Force as “an underslung load and flew to a height of 4.5 kilometres (2.7 miles).”
“The release of RLV was autonomous. RLV then performed approach and landing maneuvers using the integrated navigation, guidance, and control system and completed an autonomous landing on the ATR (Aeronautical Test Range ) airstrip at 7.40am (local time),” the agency said in a statement, adding that with this, it “successfully achieved the autonomous landing of a space vehicle.”
ISRO, DRDO, IAF Jointly Conducted RLV Test@isro @DRDO_India and @IAF_MCC conducted the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX) successfully from Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka this morning.
Date : April 2, 2023 pic.twitter.com/HWfMHqIvLJ
— Indian Aerospace Defence News (IADN) (@NewsIADN) April 2, 2023
Noting that the autonomous landing “was carried out under the exact conditions of a space re-entry vehicle’s landing — high speed, unmanned, precise landing from the same return path — as if the vehicle arrives from space,” the ISRO further said: “Landing parameters such as ground relative velocity, the sink rate of landing gears, and precise body rates, as might be experienced by an orbital re-entry space vehicle in its return path, were achieved.”
The agency also said that “in a first in the world, a winged body has been carried to an altitude of 4.5 km by helicopter and released for carrying out an autonomous landing on a runway.”