A Reusable launch vehicle (RLV) refers to a vehicle which can be used for several missions. Once when a RLV completes a mission, it returns to the earth and can be used again whereas the Expendable Launch Vehicles (ELV) can be used only once. This is the main advantage of a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) and this can be done at very low cost. Though the thought of Reusable launch vehicles started in 1950âs, because of low technology development like insufficient thrust-toweight ratio of engine to escape our gravity etc made their thoughts impossible. Later due to the advancement in the technology the existence of the Reusable launch vehicle became possible. Philip bono proposed few concepts for the development of the vehicle like plugnozzle engines to retain high specific impulse at all altitudes, use of drop tanks to increase range, use of in-orbit refueling to increase range, use of spherical tanks and stubby shape to reduce vehicle structural mass further. Eugen Sanger also proposed few concepts for advancement of the vehicle like rail boost, use of lifting body designs to reduce vehicle structural mass, use of in-flight refueling.
Last date updated on July, 2014