MUMBAI, May 23 (Xinhua) –On May 23 India launched a small version Space Launch Vehicle as a technology demonstrator, which is a scaled down prototype of India’s future “Space Shuttle” , also the first experimental launch of India’s Reusable Launch Vehicle indigenous development program.
The full name of this kind of launch vehicle is “Reusable Launch Vehicle –Technology Demonstrator” (RLV-TD), which in essence is a flying test bed to evaluate technologies, measuring 6.5 meter in length and weighing 1.75 ton, with a manufacturing cost of Rs.950 million ( approximately $14 million) .
RLV-TD was launched on May 23 morning from Satish Dhawan Space Centre situated in the State of Andhra Pradesh in southeast India. 10 minutes after the launch it fell into the Bay of Bengal.
Indian Space Research Organization in charge of the launch said that the main objectives of this test were to verify the technologies like supersonic flight, automatic touch down and propelled cruise flight, and the RLV-TD which fell into the sea would not be retrieved.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee conveyed his “hearty congratulations” to ISRO for the launch. Indian media commented that the launch is an important step in the implementation of India’s space programme.
“RLV-TD” is hailed as the Indian version of the “Space Shuttle”. India is planning to launch the genuine version of the RLV, measuring 40 meter in length, by around 2030. RLV can re-enter the atmosphere and land to be reused, achieving the objective of low cost space launches.