New Delhi: Adding another feather to its cap and joining the race to develop reusable spacecraft, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested its first reusable satellite launch vehicle in Sriharikota early Monday morning.
The 6.5 meter long Re-usable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) weighing about 1.7 tons took off at 7 a.m. from the first launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, atop a 1 meter in diameter, 9 ton solid booster (HS9).
The mission is being seen as a 'significant step' in India's space endeavour.
This is the first time the Indian space agency launched a winged flight vehicle, which after its launch, glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 kilometres from the coast.
It is said that on an average, space agencies worldwide spend around $20,000 to make and use medium-to-heavy weight rockets to launch satellites
Scientists believe that if reusable technology succeeds, it can cut the cost of space launch by as much as 10 times.
It may be noted that only a few nations attempted to build a space shuttle. NASA retired its space shuttles in 2011, after completing 135 space flights. Russia made a single attempt in 1989, but was cancelled later.
ISRO hopes to launch a full scale reusable shuttle within a decade.