India successfully launches mini-shuttle

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Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), May 23: India on Monday successfully launched its maiden winged reusable launch vehicle (RLV) as a technology demonstrator, an official said.

"We have successfully accomplished the RLV-TD mission. The lift-off was at 7.00 a.m. from the first launch pad here," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director Devi Prasad Karnik told IANS after the mini-shuttle returned to the Earth.

ISRO launch


The 1.7-tonne RLV was launched from ISRO's spaceport here in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km northeast of Chennai off the Bay of Bengal coast. The 6.5 meter long Re-Usable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) was built by a team of 600 scientists over a span of 5 years, costing Rs 95 crores.

This is the first time that ISRO will fly a winged body and bring it back on a makeshift runway in the Bya of Bengal. This feature will help reduce the cost of launching objects by 10 times.

On asking what gave ISRO the confidence to venture into such a mission, Dr K Sivan, Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram said, "... we will see how far our theoretical predictions are going to match with the real flight. Based on that we will be able to find out what the right design is. This data from RLV-TD's launch is going to be used for configuring the real reusable launch vehicle."

He further added," We have already identified the area where we are going to land this space shuttle at Sriharikota where a five-km long runway will be made."

Citing the proceedings, he said, "the vehicle will not be recovered because this vehicle is not designed for recovery. Soon after landing it will break. Our aim is to generate data so during the flight itself continuous telemetry will come in, we will acquire it, and then the data will be used".

Meanwhile, PM Narendra Modi Tweeted on the success of the mission:

OneIndia News (With inputs from IANS)

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