SPACE: Indian reusable space plane

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Aug 25 2001 - 11:36:21 MDT

It looks like India may be getting into the space development
business. They've designed a reusable space plane (the Avatar)
that they claim will significantly lower launch costs for 1 ton
satellites (much bigger than what we need to bring back an asteroid).


The key trick is to gather and liquefy the oxygen in the air
rather than carrying it up from the surface. They say the idea is
based on a Rand report published in 1987.

Anyone have any comments on why this idea hasn't been pursued
more seriously in the U.S. or Russia? It would seem to me
the tricks here require relatively lightweight machinery
for performing the liquefication and separation.

This page at MSFC:
says "only aobut 20% of the required oxidizer can be produced
this way" (for Liquid Air Cycle Engines (LACE)). Have
the Indian's figured out something cleverer?


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