Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully test launched its maiden winged reusable launch vehicle (RLV) early Monday from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
"We have successfully accomplished the RLV-TD mission. The lift-off was at 7.00 a.m. from the first launch pad here," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director Devi Prasad Karnik was quoted as saying to IANS after the mini-shuttle returned to the Earth.
The 6.5 metre long 'aeroplane'-like structure weighing 1.75 tons was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km northeast of Chennai off the Bay of Bengal coast.
The test launch is considered a significant step in India's space endeavour.
The project, which began more than a decade ago at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, costs about Rs 95 crore.
This is the first time ISRO has launched a winged flight vehicle, which glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 kilometres from the coast.
Known as hypersonic flight experiment, it was about 10 minutes mission from liftoff to splashdown.
It has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion,
Scientists describe the RLV-TD mission as "a very preliminary step" in the development of a reusable rocket, whose final version is expected to take in 10 to 15 years.
(With Agencies input)