India's reusable space shuttle tested successfully
RLV-TD won't be recovered after today's test, but will try to land on subsequent flights
India has successfully test launched its first ever indigenously built reusable space shuttle — Re-Usable Launch Vehicle - technology demonstrator (RLV-TD).
The test took place Monday from Sriharikota island in southern Andhra Pradesh state.
The RLV technology was developed in an attempt to cut costs of launching satellites into space. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) spent roughly rupees 1 billion ($19.5 million) to develop this technology.
The nine-metre-long rocket took off without a hitch from ISRO's rocket launch center at Sriharikota.
This test launch will enable scientists to gather data on autonomous landing, hypersonic speed and more.
The successful launch also puts India on an elite list of space-faring nations, including the United States, Japan and Russia, which have been using their own RLVs for years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate ISRO.
"Launch of India's first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the result of the industrious efforts of our scientists. Congrats to them. The dynamism & dedication with which our scientists & @isro have worked over the years is exceptional and very inspiring," tweeted Modi.
Launch of India's first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the result of the industrious efforts of our scientists. Congrats to them.—@narendramodi
The vehicle will be directed to plunge into the Bay of Bengal on its return to earth and won't be recovered this time.
However, in subsequent flights, scientists would attempt for it to touch down at a specific location on land.