Chennai: India on Monday successfully launched its indigenous winged Reusable Launch Vehicle(RLV) from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. The vehicle is being dubbed as India's own space shuttle.
The 6.5 m long 'aeroplane'-like structure weighs 1.75 tonnes and was hoisted into the atmosphere on the special rocket booster.
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.
RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle, ISRO said.
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, it said.
The RLV-TD is described as "a very preliminary step" in the development of a reusable rocket, whose final version is expected to take 10-15 years.
The government has invested Rs 95 crore into the RLV-TD project.
ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar while explaining the importance of the experimental RLV said it is essentially an attempt by India to bring down the cost of making infrastructure in space. If reusable rockets become a reality, the cost of access to space may come down by 10 times, he said.
WATCH: India launches its first indigenous space shuttle, the RLV-TD from Sriharikota(Andhra Pradesh)https://t.co/G0SxiQbJgw— ANI (@ANI_news) May 23, 2016