Sriharikota: India launched its maiden indigenous winged Reusable Launch Vehicle, RLV from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh today.
The RLV Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD), that is ultimately aimed at putting satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter atmosphere, was carried up on a solid rocket motor.
The nine-metre long rocket weighs 11 tonnes. Very similar in its looks to the US space shuttle, the double delta-winged RLV-TD being experimented is a scale model which is almost 6 times smaller than the final version.
The 6.5 m long aeroplane like structure weighs 1.75 tonnes and was hoisted into the atmosphere on the special rocket booster.
After launching from the Sriharikota spaceport, it would be glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal.
The vehicle would re-enter the atmosphere after reaching a height of over 70 km.
The mission is known as the hypersonic flight experiment and is expected to last about 10 minutes.
Explaining the importance of the experimental RLV, Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said it is essentially an attempt by India to bring down the cost of making infrastructure in space.