Yesterday, India launched its first reusable space shuttle. The launch marks a huge milestone for Indian space industry as well as the global reusable spacecraft industry.
The space shuttle orbiters of NASA are almost 122 feet long. Upon its completion, Endeavor had cost more than $1 billion.
As opposed to these stats, the 22 feet long, Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) by ISRO is minuscule, to say the least. Accordingly, it hangs a price tag of $14 million.
The RLV-TD aboard the HS9 solid rocket booster lifted off from the First Launch Pad at Sriharikota at 07:00hr IST. HS9 burn out occurred after almost 90 seconds whereby the space shuttle mounted on the top of the rocket coasted to a height of 56 km. RLV-TD separated from HS9 booster and climbed to a height of about 65km.
The space shuttle began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5.
The shuttle flight lasted for 770 seconds. Albeit the predictions of landing failure, the ISRO scientists have claimed that they pulled off a soft landing into the Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 450km from Sriharikota, thereby fulfilling its mission objectives.; the shuttle seems to be undamaged.