The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully test launched India’s first-ever ‘swadeshi’ space shuttle early on Monday morning from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. With the launch of the unmanned re-usable model space shuttle into orbit, India has joined the league of countries competing to design re-usable rocket technology.
The Re-usable Launch Vehicle -Technology Demonstration took five years to complete and cost the government approximately Rs 95 crores. RLV aims to achieve low cost and reliable space access, according to ISRO.
After lift-off, the space shuttle travelled an altitude of 70 kilometres before landing 10 minutes later in the Bay of Bengal 500 km from Sriharikota, according to ISRO officials.
The Re-usable Launch Vehicle (RLV-TD) is about 7 metre long and weighs 1.7 tons. It is designed to enable ISRO to collect important data on hypersonic speed and autonomous landing. The final version of the spacecraft will take 10 to 15 years to develop. The mission has been conceived by ISRO as a preliminary step towards realising the success of re-usable technology.
The US had shut down NASA’s RLV project in 2011.