Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed ISRO for successfully conducting the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX), and said this achievement takes India one step closer to realising an Indian reusable launch vehicle. The test was conducted at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) at Chitradurga in Karnataka, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

“With that, ISRO successfully achieved the autonomous landing of a space vehicle,” it said in a statement.

“With LEX, the dream of an Indian Reusable Launch Vehicle arrives one step closer to reality,” the space agency said.

Reacting to the development, Modi said in a tweet, “A great team effort. This achievement takes us one step closer to realising an Indian Reusable Launch Vehicle.”

In a first in the world, a winged body has been carried to an altitude of 4.5 km by a helicopter and released for carrying out an autonomous landing on a runway.

RLV is essentially a space plane with a low lift to drag ratio requiring an approach at high glide angles that necessitates a landing at high velocities of 350 kmph.

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