For the first time, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will undertake launch of a space shuttle that is a 100% made in India effort. The shuttle which will have a sleek winged body and the size and weight of an SUV, is being readied at Sriharikota.
If everything goes according to plans, the launch is slated to take place prior to the monsoons setting into the country. Launch will be undertaken from the space port at Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh.
The Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) will sport delta wings while post launch, the space shuttle will be glided back into a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal. Actual photograph has not been released yet, but ISRO has released an artist’s impression, which you can see in the image above.
India’s first space shuttle is a part of developer’s plans to seek solution to reduce cost of launching satellites into orbit while recycling the rocket or make it reusable. Scientists at ISRO are sure that cost reduction will be as much as 10 times once reusable technology is brought in which will bring down costs to $2000 (INR 1,33,690) per kg.
ISRO’s RLV-TD measures 6.5 meters in length and will weigh 1.75 tonnes. It has been 5 years in the making while cost of the project is at INR 95 crore. The RLV-TD will be hoisted into the atmosphere on a special rocket booster. The special booster is powered by solid fuel and it will hoist the RLV-TD to around 70 km into the atmosphere after which descent will begin.
The incorporation of small thrusters will help the shuttle to be navigated back to the exact spot where it is supposed to land which is on a specially designed virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal around 500 kms from the coast.