India’s first homegrown space shuttle test is successful
Last month, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had a successful launch of its first ever ‘Reusable Launch Vehicle’ which is capable of lifting satellites into orbit at full size.
The unmanned model was launched by scientists to a peak altitude of 40 miles (65km) before it was turned around for a monitored descent into the Bay of Bengal. This flight took a total of about 13 minutes.
According to the ISRO spokesman, Deviprasad Karnika, it has taken the past ten years for the team to complete the project, five years of these being spent on the design of the actual model. The spokesman however cautioned that the journey was not yet over, more needed to be done. He said this was just an experiment and that the realization of the final re-usable vehicle would take many more years. He added that for now, all that the team has to do is to analyze the data and formulate the next step forward.
Considering the fact that other rockets are disposed or burnt after detaching from a spacecraft or re-entering into the Earth’s atmosphere, the re-usable nature of the vehicle could cut down costs of future missions making space travel cheaper.
Monday’s successful launch cost approximately 13 million dollars to develop. This is way cheaper compared to 60 and 90 million dollar price tags on SpaceX’s rockets. The team received congratulatory messages from dignitaries, among them the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi who appreciated the team’s industrious efforts. He tweeted this from Tehran where he is holding meetings with the Iran President, Hassan Rouhani.