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|"Hmm, I don't remember that one. It mustn't be that important." |
This article is about a subject from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]
A RLV (Reusable Launch Vehicle) was a launch system that was capable of launching a vehicle into space more than once.
Solis Space & Aeronautics utilized various RLVs in test launches, with their planning to make them tourist-friendly from their contracts with NASA. Raiden utilized one such vehicle in May 2018 to arrive at Pakistan to quell Operation Tecumseh, due to it being capable of reaching Mach 23 speeds, thus cutting down the time to get to Pakistan from 24 hours to half an hour. As they had been doing test launches for the six months prior to that time, Solis could afford to reroute their flight path to allow Raiden to go to Pakistan for that event, as long as the flight did not break the atmosphere. After dropping off Raiden and Blade Wolf at Pakistan, it continued to circumnavigate across the globe on autopilot, and eventually returned to Solis, with Sunny Emmerich also joking that Raiden and Blade Wolf were her load ejection experiment.
Solis's RLVs cannot break the Kármán line. The one Raiden rode in had a velocity of a few dozen times the speed of sound and operated within all the projected margins of safety, although it still needed work on turbulence levels before it could be used for tourists. It was also intended at that moment to deliver cargo, as Solis had received a contract from the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) division of NASA for space deliveries as well as joined the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office's (C3PO) passenger transport program. It also possessed swept wings on the top and bottom of the craft, to deflect the generated sonic booms onto each other to reduce shockwaves, and the model had also mitigated the issues on the elevation and wing-tip treatment due to Solis's genetic algorithm for designing spacecraft. It also had an autopilot function in the event that it did not have a pilot manning the spacecraft.
However, it ran on ramjet mode and had to drastically increase its descent to land, which made it going back up rough for her due to damage it received on landing. Its engine utilized the liquid air cycle engine, or LACE, which uses liquid hydrogen to chill and liquefy the oxygen in the air, creating propulsion from the liqueified hydrogen and oxygen, and it was combined with ramjets for maximum effieciency. The solid rocket boosters launch the RLV until reaching the appropriate altitude at Mach 3, at which point the ramjet propulsion mode kicks in and absorbs the oxygen and liqueifying it until enough liquid oxygen had been amassed. At which point, the LACE is activated. However, either of them by themselves would have made dropping landing crafts difficult, as it needed to descend to the right altitude to drop the craft.