Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Tuesday, May 24, 2016

India's mini space shuttle successfully completes test run as country joins race to make reusable rockets

(Mail Online)    15:49, May 24, 2016

It has been almost five years since Nasa sent its Space Shuttle on its final flight into orbit, but a new generation of reusable spacecraft are preparing the ground for a new race into the heavens.

Counties including Japan and Russia have joined private companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX in building reusable space rockets, and now India is the latest country to step up to the challenge.

It has launched a 23 feet long scale model of its own version of the space shuttle from a spaceport in the south east of the country.

India's 23-feet (7 metres) tall scale model space shuttle (pictured right) blasted off from a southeastern space port on Monday, in a crucial step to eventually developing a full-scale, reusable one to send up satellites in the future. The lift-off (pictured left) was at 7am (01.30 GMT)

The move marks a crucial step towards developing a full-scale resuable model to launch satellites in the future and highlights India's presence as a serious space faring nation.

The country's first model space shuttle on Monday morning, as it bids to join the race to one day make rockets as reusable as airplanes.

'The lift-off was at 7am (01.30 GMT) from the first launch pad here,' said India's space chief Devi Prasad Karnik.

'We have successfully accomplished the RLV mission as a technology demonstrator.'

The scale-model shuttle was propelled 41 miles (65 km) into the atmosphere using a 15-tonne rocket before splashing down 10 minutes later into the Bay of Bengal, 310 miles (500km) from the Sriharikota space port.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed the 1.7-tonne (1,542 kilogram) winged shuttle reportedly on a miniscule budget of one billion rupees ($14/£9.7 million) over a five-year period.

'After a successful flight of 91.1second, HS9 burn out occurred, following which both HS9 and RLV-TD mounted on its top coasted to a height of about 56 km,' the space agency confirmed.

'At that height, RLV-TD separated from HS9 booster and further ascended to a height of about 65km.

The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from ground stations at Sriharikota and a shipborne terminal, and total flight duration from launch to landing of this mission of the delta winged RLV-TD, lasted for about 770seconds.

'In this flight, critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management have been successfully validated,' the agency said.

But scientists hope that subsequent larger version, expected to be six times the size, will be launched over the next decade and will make it safely back to Earth.


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(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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