Last week, ISRO scientists successfully flight-tested India's indigenously-built winged body aerospace vehicle, or the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD).
A booster rocket, carrying the aerospace vehicle (RLV-TD), took off from the spaceport at Sriharikota, some 100 km from the South Indian city of Chennai, in the early morning of May 23rd, 2016. The RLV-TD coasted to an altitude of 56 kilometres and then inclined further to 65 kilometres, before separating from the booster. The RLV-TD then made a re-entry into the earth's atmosphere at Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) and glided down to the defined landing spot in the Bay of Bengal, 450 km from Sriharikota. Thus, India joined the elite and exclusive club with only three other countries with the RLV technology (USA, Russia and Japan).
One might ask why this 'achievement' should excite the Aam Aadmi (common man) who would be worrying over his budgeting for tax or sustenance. RLV is the space vehicle that launches the satellite into space. RLV will, when fully developed, be re-usable instead of the present one-time-use and combustible launch vehicle. It will save 60-70% of the cost of launching a satellite into space. The satellite, during its orbit in space, relays critical information and knowledge that help development in spheres that affect our lives – global positioning, advanced weather forecasting, energy development, remote health monitoring and administration, global and local communication. And the list goes on. Now that is something we should be interested in knowing, and keeping updated about.
When we follow the social media today, whether they are the broadcasting media or the more personal social groups like Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter or even when we meet up to chit-chat, we are weighed down by the criticism and adverse reports about the state of the current affairs in our country. Even though we must be well-informed of the adversaries and dangers that can affect our lives, where have all the good news gone? There are enough good things happening in our country, as there are enough great achievers who make it to the top in their ambitions and visions in spite of the challenges that our country is notorious for. So it depends on whether one is looking at the glass (India) as half-empty (nothing really good about it) or half-full (enough good things to feel happy about).
A positive outlook has a win-win prospect. It motivates potential achievers to make it to the top. It gives the onlooker citizens a boost with the feel-good factor. This positive outlook promotes good health, good camaraderie with fellow citizens, good temper and good behaviour. It also means less frustration and fewer loyalist-viewers of prime-time cacophonic debates on television.
It is said that US Marines are made to wear the peaks of their caps close over their eyes so that they needed to raise their heads and tilt upwards to look forward. This posture sub-consciously boosts their morale and self-confidence, as they stand straight and look ahead "with chins up". A similar re-tuning in our attitude and virtual posture would induce us to seek out positive news, and contribute positively ourselves. For now, let us look up at the RLV and ISRO's initiative to fully develop the RLV for deployment in two decades' time.
By Susan Koshy, Editor, PreSense