back to article India flies – and lands – reusable autonomous spaceplane

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday successfully flew and landed an autonomous reusable spaceplane. The agency hoisted the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX) to an altitude of 4.5km beneath a helicopter, then watched as it navigated a steep approach to land 4.6km downrange. The …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    No, it doesn't look like the Shuttle or Buran

    But it does look like an X-37.

    Also, those landing gear are obviously from the parts bin, just there for the drop test.

    It's good to see DBS getting a beating from the authorities. At least on this side of the pond, banks get a pat on the head a "we'll do better next time, right?"

    Also there's a metric assload of typos and spelling errors, and still no corrections link.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: No, it doesn't look like the Shuttle or Buran

      If the landing gear is from the parts bin then it’s close to its design max if it is meeting the runway at 220 mph.

    2. ITMA Silver badge

      Re: No, it doesn't look like the Shuttle or Buran

      Hi Gene,

      The "Send Corrections" link is near the top of the main Comments page on the same line and to the right of "Post you comment" and "House Rules" (on the full web version at least).

      I've missed it before when wishing to point out errors.


    3. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: No, it doesn't look like the Shuttle or Buran

      Looks like a pretty reasonable landing to me (former trainee glider pilot), except for the wiggles at the end after the drogue 'chute' is jettisoned.

      Not sure the undercarriage is from the spares bin, you need to design the wheel bays, suspension, bay doors etc specifically. Still, we'll see how it develops.

      Congrats on a successful drop test.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No, it doesn't look like the Shuttle or Buran

        So, as a former trainee glider pilot, did that sound like a glider landing to you? :-)

        Maybe it was just the speed of the landing and the air flow over non-streamlined bits, ie the undercarriage making all that noise and not that it was under power.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: No, it doesn't look like the Shuttle or Buran

          I only ever flew the Slingsby T.21* and T31** types, so quite different acoustics and aerodynamics to the Indian spacecraft. However, it certainly looked like a gliding aircraft (i.e. no apparent engine). Gliders make a lot of noise, especially at landing speed as it is usually reasonably high to get through 'bumps' (air turbulence) quickly. When a glider stops making noise it is flying too slowly and about to stall. The snub rear end of the craft would doubtless produce a lot of noise during flight and landing.



  2. steelpillow Silver badge

    Not science really...

    "PLUS Japanese PM grilled by ChatGPT; Singapore slams bank outage; WeChat adds paid tier; and more"

    What is this lot doing here? The article is tagged for SCIENCE but not for the rest of this stuff.

    I know, let's just put each day's posts as a a single web page and rely on ChatBotGPT to do the tagging.

  3. fishman

    Launch costs

    "ISRO hopes the vehicle one day makes it possible to launch payloads to orbit for just $4,000/kg – well below the cost of competing launch services."

    I'd assume that their launch cost estimates are for a rocket with a reusable first stage. By the time they have the full stack flying SpaceX will have Starship/Superheavy, RocketLab will have Neutron, etc - all fully reusable. But currently the Falcon 9 costs $67M and can take as much as 17,400kg to LEO in reusable mode which works out to $3850/kg.

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