“Pushpak ISRO`s  Reusable launch vehicle cleared tested.”

“Pushpak ISRO`s  Reusable launch vehicle cleared tested.”

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details of “Pushpak ISRO`s  Reusable launch vehicle cleared tested.”This topic is relevant to the “Science and Technology” section of the UPSC—CSE Exam.


Why in the news?

The Indian Space Research Organisation achieved a milestone with the third experiment of its reusable launch vehicle landing at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka.


More about the news:

  • After the successful missions of RLV LEX-01 and LEX-02, RLV LEX-03 reaffirmed the reusable launch vehicle’s autonomous landing capability under increasingly difficult release and severe wind conditions.
  • Pushpak, the space agency’s winged vehicle, was deployed from an Indian Air Force Chinook helicopter at an altitude of 4.5 km.
  • During this ground-rolling phase, Pushpak employs its rudder and nose-wheel steering system to autonomously ensure stable and precise movement along the runway.
  • According to ISRO, this mission validated an advanced guidance algorithm crucial for future Orbital Re-entry Missions, focusing on longitudinal and lateral plane error corrections. 
  • The LEX-03 mission used sensors such as an inertial sensor, radar altimeter, flush air data system, and NavIC. Importantly, it successfully reused the winged body and flight systems from the LEX-02 mission, showcasing ISRO’s robust capability in designing reusable flight systems.


Need for Reusable launch vehicle:

  • Cost Reduction: Reusing launch vehicle components, such as rocket stages, engines, and other parts, can significantly reduce the overall cost of each launch compared to expendable launch vehicles discarded after a single use. This makes space exploration and utilisation more economically viable.
  • Increased Launch Cadence: Reusable vehicles can be refurbished and relaunched more quickly, allowing for a higher frequency of launches. This enables more missions, satellite deployments, and other space activities.
  • Sustainability: Reusable launch vehicles reduce the hardware and resources required for each launch, making space activities more environmentally sustainable than expendable rockets’ high waste.
  • Technological Advancement: The development of reusable launch vehicles drives innovation in propulsion, avionics, materials, and recovery systems. This technological progress benefits the entire space industry.
  • Accessibility: Lowering launch costs through reusability can make space more accessible to a wider range of commercial, scientific, and governmental entities, fostering growth in the space economy.


Challenges in recovering and refurbishing reusable launch vehicle parts include:

  • Structural Integrity: The launch vehicle components must withstand the extreme stresses and temperatures experienced during launch, atmospheric re-entry, and landing. Ensuring the structural integrity of these parts is crucial for safe reuse.
  • Thermal Protection: The vehicle and its components need robust systems to shield them from the heat generated during re-entry. Developing effective and reusable thermal protection is a key challenge.
  • Propulsion Efficiency: The propulsion systems, such as rocket engines, must maintain high efficiency and performance after repeated use. Refurbishing and reusing these components without degradation in performance is critical.
  • Guidance and Control: The vehicle’s guidance and control systems must accurately navigate the atmospheric re-entry and landing phases, compensating for uncertainties and disturbances. Reliable and adaptable control algorithms are necessary.
  • Recovery and Refurbishment: Recovering the vehicle components safely and efficiently and refurbishing them for the next mission requires specialised facilities, equipment, and processes. Minimising the time and cost of this process is a major challenge.
  • Regulatory and Environmental Compliance: Reusable launch vehicles must comply with various regulatory and environmental requirements, such as safety, security, and liability standards, and mitigate the impact on the atmosphere and space environment.



  • Thermal Protection Systems: It is crucial to develop robust and reusable thermal protection systems that can withstand the extreme heat and stresses of launch, atmospheric re-entry, and landing. This includes materials, coatings, and designs that can be refurbished and reused.
  • Propulsion Efficiency: It is essential to ensure that the rocket engines and propulsion systems maintain high efficiency and performance after repeated use. Refurbishment processes and design improvements are needed to minimise degradation.
  • Guidance and Control: Enhancing the guidance, navigation, and control systems to enable precise and reliable atmospheric re-entry and landing is a key challenge. Autonomous control algorithms must be able to handle the complexities of reusable vehicle operations.
  • Recovery and Refurbishment: Streamlining the recovery, inspection, and refurbishment processes is critical to minimise turnaround time and cost. Specialised facilities, equipment, and procedures are required to prepare the reusable components for the next launch efficiently.
  • Structural Integrity: Designing the airframe, tanks, and other structural components to withstand the repeated stresses of launch, flight, and landing without compromising their integrity is essential for reliable reuse.
  • Regulatory and Safety Compliance: Ensuring RLVs meet all regulatory requirements for safety, environmental impact, and liability is necessary for widespread adoption and commercial viability.
  • Operational Experience: Gaining more operational experience through repeated test flights and demonstrations is crucial to refining RLVs’ technologies, processes, and operational procedures.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Conduct thorough cost-benefit analyses to optimise the design and operations of RLVs, ensuring the benefits of reusability outweigh the additional development and maintenance costs.
  • Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: Fostering international collaboration and knowledge sharing among space agencies, research institutions, and private companies to accelerate the development and adoption of RLV technologies.


Prelims based Question:

Q. Pushpak some time in the news:

  1.  India’s new launchpad is in the Tamil Nadu.
  2. India`s new first reusable launch vehicle.
  3. India`s new cryogenic engine. 
  4. New exploration marine device



Mains based Question:

Q. Discuss the role of the ISRO in curbing the Kessler Syndrome. 


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