India’s first space shuttle launch – test flight completed

A rocket carrying the Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 9:30 p.m. The Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), which is about six times smaller than the final planned space shuttle, spent a little less than 13 minutes in flight before landing. Some 600 scientists at ISRO—India’s equivalent of NASA—have been working on the space agency’s shuttle programme for a decade now.

ISRO said in a statement: “After successfully surviving high temperatures of re-entry with the help of its thermal protection system, RLV-TD successfully glided down to the defined landing spot over the Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 450km from Sriharikota, thereby fulfilling its mission objectives

The RLV-TD, a winged vehicle similar in appearance to the U.S. Air Force’ s X-37B, separated from the rocket and flew to a peak altitude of 65 kilometers and speed of Mach 5 before gliding to a splashdown in the Bay of Bengal. India’s space agency ISRO declared the test flight a success. The RLV-TD is the first test of an eventual full-fledged RLV that ISRO hopes to develop by 2030.

This vehicle, testing its flight characteristics at hypersonic speeds, had no main propulsion, and there were no plans to recover, let alone reuse, the vehicle.

 

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