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ISRO: new frontiers (Analysed from the Hindu Editorial and other sources, Relevant for GS mains Paper III, Topic: New Scientific developments in the field of space, Relevant for GS Prelims)

1.    Technology demonstrator of the indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV): The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has taken a baby step in building a vehicle that can be reused multiple times to launch satellites into orbit. The hypersonic flight, that lasted about 770 seconds from lift-off to splashdown in the Bay of Bengal, reached an altitude of about 65 km before re-entering the atmosphere at nearly five times the speed of sound. Many more such successful launches have to be undertaken before the RLV becomes a reusable launch system to put satellites into orbit. 
Reusable Launch Vehicle enables use of same launch vehicle for multiple launch of satellites. Reusable launch vehicle will play a pivotal role in cutting down by as much as 80 per cent the cost of launching satellites into orbit. Currently, the bulk of the launch cost comes from building the rocket, which can be used just once, as the rockets get burnt on re-entry into the atmosphere. 

2.    Multiple Satellite Launch in a single mission: ISRO has earlier developed rockets that can send multiple satellites in a single mission. One such launch is scheduled in June, 2016, when PSLV C-34 would be launching 22 satellites in their respective intended orbits in a single mission.

3.    Air breathing propulsion system: Air breathing propulsion system utilises oxygen available in the atmosphere upto height of 50 km from the earth’s surface to burn the fuel stored in the rocket.

Earlier, Liquefied oxygen was carried by rockets along with the fuel. Air breathing propulsion system would enable the launch vehicles to carry heavy satellites since liquefied oxygen need not be carried on board the vehicle.

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