Today at 7 am , a prototype of India’s Re-usable Launch Vehicle (RLV) dubbed “swadeshi” space shuttle blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, an island off the Bay of Bengal in southern India.
Within 20 minutes of lift off, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that the launch was successful. The 6.5 metre-long prototype of the RLV weighs about 1.75 tonnes and was built at a cost of Rs95 crore. The project has been in theworks for about a decade, involving over 600 scientists. The test model was about six times smaller than the actual version.
Lifting off from the launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, the RLV Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) was hoisted into the atmosphere on the special rocket booster for a peak altitude of over 65 km and released for its re-entry into the atmosphere before its splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.
From a 65 km altitude, RLV-TD began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5 -five times the speed of sound with the vehicle’s Navigation, Guidance and Control system accurately steering it during this phase for safe descent.
The test model was about six times smaller than the actual version, which is planned to be about 40-meters-long. ISRO plans to test two more prototypes in the coming years.