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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing for a critical mission that will test a key technology for its ambitions of enabling a sustained human presence in space. This mission involves a landing experiment (LEX) for a scaled-down Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) scheduled to take place at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Challakere, Chitradurga, Karnataka.

ISRO Chairman S. Somanath confirmed the upcoming LEX, highlighting its significance. Reusable Launch Vehicles offer a significant cost advantage over traditional expendable launch vehicles. By being reusable, RLVs can drastically reduce the cost of space missions, making space exploration more sustainable in the long run.

The experiment will involve dropping a scaled-down version of the RLV from an altitude of 4.5 kilometers. The key objective is to demonstrate the vehicle’s capability for an autonomous landing on a designated runway. A successful LEX would be a major milestone in ISRO’s efforts to develop reusable launch technologies.

This upcoming LEX represents a crucial step forward in India’s vision for space exploration. By successfully demonstrating the RLV’s autonomous landing capabilities, ISRO will gain valuable insights and pave the way for the development of fully functional reusable launch vehicles. These reusable vehicles would play a critical role in enabling future endeavors, potentially including crewed missions and the establishment of a permanent human presence in space.