India successfully launched the first technology demonstrator of indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) on Monday morning, capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
"Mission accomplished successfully," an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) spokesman told PTI soon after RLV-TD HEX-01 was flight tested with the take off at 7 am.
Here's are 10 things you need to know about the space shuttle:
- The RLV-TD is 6.5 metre-long and weighs approximately 1.75 tonnes.
- It's estimated cost is around Rs 95 crore, reports NDTV.
- It was built at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram by a team of 600 scientists over five years.
- Known as hypersonic flight experiment, it was about 10 minutes mission from liftoff to splashdown.
- After launch, the space shuttle flew to an altitude of 70 kilometres and then engaged in a free-gliding flight that started with an initial velocity five times that of sound, reports NDTV.
- It, then, landed on a stretch of water in the Bay of Bengal some 500 kilometres from Sriharikota.
- The RLV-TD is unlikely to be recovered from sea during this experiment as it is expected that the vehicle will disintegrate on impact with water since it is not designed to float.
- The RLV-TD which was launched is an experimental model is almost 6 times smaller than the final version.
- The final RLV will be about 40 meters in length, take 10-15 years to be developed and will also be able carry Indian astronauts.
- This launch matters because scientists at ISRO believe that they could reduce the cost of launching stuff into space by as much as 10 times if reusable technology succeeds.