Font Size: May 23, 2016

India launches its first ever space plane RLV-TD: 7 amazing facts you should know about it

The government has invested Rs 95 crore for the project.

India, on May 23, 2016, successfully launched Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) - Technology Demonstrator (TD) from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.

The announcement of approval to build and test RLV-TD was made in January 2012 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Here are 7 things you should definitely know about India's first-ever indigenous space shuttle:

1. Also known as RLV-TD, India's first swadeshi space shuttle is a 6.5 metres long aeroplane-like structure which weighs 1.75 tonnes.

2. This is the first time ISRO has launched a winged flight vehicle configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, namely, hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.

3. During its launch on May 23, the vehicle glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 kilometres off the coast.

4. According to ISRO, RLV-TD is India's unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access. The RLV-TD will act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies like powered cruise flight, hypersonic flight and autonomous landing using air-breathing propulsion. Application of these technologies would bring down the launch cost by a factor of 10.

5. The government has invested Rs 95 crore into the project.

6. ISRO used a mini-rocket with a booster to fly the winged reusable launch vehicle into lower earth orbit for demonstrating the feasibility of the technology.

7. Besides the US (NASA) and Russia (Roscomos), Japan (Jaxa) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have developed the RLV technology. The successful demonstration of this completely made-in-India space plane can qualify the country to enter the elite club of these nations navigating the space like never before.


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