It looks that India’s future spacecraft will be a perfect complement to NASA.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) expects to test its reusable launch vehicle-technology demonstration (RLV-TD) in the following months. The spaceship looks almost identical to NASA’s now-retired space shuttles, which were in service from 1981 to 2011.
The new spaceship design is rather appealing. However, as it will be used in experiments to confirm the concept before being made to transport astronauts into orbit, it is only a design.
The first test will be a landing experiment in which the RLV-TD will be transported by helicopter until it reaches a height of three to five kilometers before being released. The vehicle will then glide towards a four-kilometer-away runway and land independently.
“Once we successfully complete this mission and we have validated the software, landing gear, and get data on how the aerodynamics sensors worked to maneuver the aircraft… we will be ready for the orbital re-entry experiment,” Unnikrishnan Nair, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, stated.
The shuttle would be reusable, saving money for India’s young space program, which has a fraction of NASA’s budget and resources.
Finally, it might be a massive investment for the ISRO, one that would ideally pay off for a burgeoning space program that has had a lot of obstacles in past years due to the epidemic as well as deadly rocket explosions.