While the large wave drag associated with blunt bodies is desirable during re-entry, it is useful to minimize the same during ascent stage of reentry capsules. Using retractable aero-spike ahead of the blunt body can effectively reduce aerodynamic drag during ascent. In this paper we report the results from the studies carried out to look at appropriate retractable aerospike configurations for planetary exploratory missions. The drag around a 120° apex angle blunt cone with aerospikes have been measured in the IISc shock tunnel at a nominal Mach number of 5.75 using an accelerometer force balance. The results indicate that at lower angles of attack (up to ~ 50) about 40-55% drag reduction can be achieved on the blunt cone using flat and hemispherical aero discs. On the other hand the sharp spike was found to be least effective with only about 5% reduction in the drag. Further time resolved visualization studies using IMACON 486 camera was carried out in the Shock Wave Research Center (SWRC) free piston driven shock tunnel to understand the shock oscillations and pulsation of the separated flow field associated with the spiked blunt cones at Mach 7. The results indicate slight shock oscillation near the corner in case of blunt cone with flat disc aerospike and the shock oscillations appear to be more pronounced in case of blunt cone with sharp aerospike. However the pulsation of the separation bubble is not captured in the experiments. On the other hand both shock oscillation and separation bubble pulsation is clearly visualized in the axisymmetric Euler computations. The studies reveal that with appropriate spike geometry it is indeed possible to achieve appreciable reduction in the drag by engulfing the entire blunt cone in the aerodynamic shadow of the aerospike.