The Indian Space Research Organisation is hoping to begin demonstration flights of a reusable launch vehicle by 2012 as part of efforts to provide the country with lower-cost access to space.

ISRO is developing supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) technology and has carried out combustion flow simulations, as well as achieving supersonic combustion in ground tests.

The next step will be to perform flight tests of a scramjet engine demonstration vehicle, comprising a rocket fitted with an air-breathing engine. This will be followed by flights of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator, a 1:20 scale model of which was exhibited at Aero India.

Its maiden flight is planned for around 2010-12.

Source: Flight International