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India Launches First-Ever Indigenous Space Shuttle RLV-TD

‘Mission Accomplished’ As Swadeshi Space Shuttle Tests

Swadeshi Space Shuttle Launch

This is the first time ISRO – Indian Space Research Organisation will fly a winged body and bring it back to land on a make-shift runway in the Bay of Bengal

India successfully tested its first-ever swadeshi or indigenous space shuttle today as its scale model – the Re-Usable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator or RLV-TD – was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 7 am. Nearly 20 minutes after its lift-off, ISRO or the Indian Space Research Organization announced, “mission accomplished”.
Swadeshi Space Shuttle Launch Swadeshi Space Shuttle Launch

Here are 10 must-know facts about the big launch:

  1. The 6.5 metre-long scale model of the re-usable launch vehicle weighs about 1.75 tonnes and was made at a cost of Rs. 95 crore. It was built at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram by a team of 600 scientists over five years.
  2. Re-usable technology aims to help reduce the cost of launching objects into space by 10 times. It costs about $ 20,000 to send a kilogram in space currently.
  3. Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO plans to test two more such prototypes before the final version which will be about six times larger at around 40 metres and will take off around 2030.
  4. After the test flight was declared successful, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated scientists at ISRO and tweeted: “Launch of India’s first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the result of the industrious efforts of our scientists. Congrats to them.”
  5. The spacecraft was launched atop a nine-ton solid rocket engine that has been designed to burn slowly to accommodate the vertical lifting of a winged body.
  6. After the launch, the space shuttle flew to an altitude of 70 kilometres and then engaged in a free-gliding flight that started with an initial velocity five times that of sound. It then landed on a stretch of water in the Bay of Bengal some 500 kilometres from Sriharikota.
  7. This was the first time that ISRO flew a winged body and brought it back to land on a make-shift runway. In further tests, an undercarriage will be placed to make it land, possibly at Sriharikota.
  8. The final RLV will be about 40 meters in length and will also be able carry Indian astronauts. On this first flight, the RLV-TD will not be recovered but the data collected will be used to improve the designs, paving the runway to the final model.
  9. No other country is currently operationally flying a winged spacecraft into space – the Americans retired their space shuttles in 2011 and the Russians flew theirsonly once in 1989.
  10. In a race to master re-usable technology for space shuttles, the RLV will be pitted against the likes of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Blue Origin’s New Shephard rocket -both the companies have already partially tested re-usable space shuttles.

Swadeshi Space Shuttle Launch

Swadeshi Space Shuttle





Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated the scientists for successfully launching India’s maiden winged reusable launch vehicle (RLV)as a technology demonstrator.

“Launch of India’s first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the result of the industrious efforts of our scientists. Congrats to them,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

He also added:

Swadeshi space shuttle

“We have successfully accomplished the RLV-TD mission. The lift-off was at 7.00 a.m. from the first launch pad here,” ISRO director Devi Prasad Karnik told IANS after the shuttle returned to the Earth.

The 1.7-tonne RLV was launched from ISRO’s spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km northeast of Chennai off the Bay of Bengal coast.




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