India Taking Step-by-Step Approach to Developing Hypersonic SSTO takes a look at India’s step-by-step approach to developing reusable hypersonic launch vehicles:

The RLV will loft a satellite into orbit and immediately re-enter the atmosphere and glide back for a conventional landing. The RLV and the rocket booster will be recovered separately, with the former making a conventional landing on a runway and booster making a parachute landing.

ISRO’s RLV will possess wings and tail fins, and will be launched atop a 9 ton solid booster called S-9, similar to the ones on the PSLV. The space agency plans to achieve RLV capability in three phases – Re-entry Technology Development, RLV Runway Recovery, and Scramjet Power.

The RLV-TD prototype will look vaguely like a mini Space Shuttle, and will be used to carry out a series of experiments – HEX [Hypersonic Flight Experiment], LEX [Landing Experiment], REX [Return Flight Experiment], SPEX [Scramjet Propulsion Experiment].

This work would contribute to development of the AVATAR (Aerobic Vehicle for hypersonic Aerospace Transportation) SSTO, which the site says would be “the size of a MiG-25 fighter and would be capable of delivering a 500 kg to 1000 kg payload to low earth orbit at very cheap rate for an estimated vehicle life of 100 launches.” This project is also being worked on by DRDO.

Read the full story.