Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, currently visiting Iran, tweeted saying “Launch of India’s first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the result of the industrious efforts of our scientists. Congrats to them.”
On 23rd May, The Indian Space Research Organization successfully test launched the first ‘Made in India’s space shuttle — called the Reusable Launch Vehicle- Technology Demonstrator or (RLV-TD) —from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh
Quick Facts about RLV-TD
· Government has invested 95 crores in RLV-TD project, with the aim that with its successful tests, it can bring down the cost incurred in making infrastructure for space
· Cut cost by 10 times: With delta wings and angled tails fins, it can fly into space, inject an orbiter and land on earth like an aircraft. This simple phenomenon not only cut cost by 10 times but makes it possible to reuse for satellite launches.
· The cost of developing the RLV technology is estimated to be about Rs.100 crore.
· An advanced version of the vehicle could also be used for manned missions.
· In the hypersonic test flight, the vehicle fitted with a solid strap-on thruster will take off vertically like a rocket at five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) to reach an altitude of 70km. After ascent, the vehicle will manoeuvre and take a 180 degree turn before re-entry.
· But its descent, had a controlled splashdown in the Bay of Bengal (the makeshift landing) instead of an aircraft-like landing, which will be tested subsequently.
· It is regarded as an important step in India’s space venture.
· In 2011 the US’s NASA abandoned its reusable space shuttle project, which makes this test launch by ISRO even more special.
· The RLV-TD is described as “a very preliminary step” in the development of a reusable rocket, the final version of which is expected to take 10-15 years, sometime in 2030 and will be much heavier than the present test launch.
· The 9-metre rocket with a mass weight of 17 tonnes includes nine tonnes of solid propellants. The final version of the RLV-TD will be six times larger at around 40 meters and will take off around 2030.
· After the launch, the space shuttle flew to an altitude of 70 kilometres. It then landed on a stretch of water in the Bay of Bengal some 500 kilometres from Sriharikota.