India One Step Closer to Space Shuttle Launch

AP Photo
The Associated Press

This story originally appeared in the Times of India:

MUMBAI: India is on the cusp of developing its own reusable space launch vehicle, popularly known as a space shuttle. Isro’s 1.5 tonne vehicle resembling an aircraft is provisionally slated to make its maiden flight towards the end of July or August from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

Officially known as the reusable launch vehicle (RLV-TD), it is undergoing final preparations at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. Its primary role will be to reduce the cost of access to space. The cost of placing 1kg of object in space is about $5,000, which scientists are hoping will come down to about $500 with the RLV.

As of now, there are no plans to use it for a manned mission. Speaking to TOI, those connected with the nearly Rs 100-crore project said that the spacecraft will initially be carried by a single solid rocket booster with nine tonnes of propellants.

After lift off, it will zoom to an altitude of 70km and then execute a soft landing in the Bay of Bengal. The duration of this sub-orbital mission is expected to be around 900 seconds.

Read the full story at the Times of India.