10 facts on ISRO Space Shuttle

- Puneet Yadav   24-05-2016


ISRO  on Monday the 23 May successfully launched  the trial version of its indigenous space shuttle Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator or RLV –TD  from Sriharikota ,Andhra Pradesh at 7  am. This is the first step of India towards making  a full scale version of  a space shuttle that is planned to be ready in 15 years. . Here are the facts that you should know associated with it and why it is important from India’s point of view .

The advantage of this reusable technology is that it will reduce the cost of launching satellites through rocket into orbit by 10 times as the  space shuttle can be reused for launching after it comes back to earth. India's Mars mission cost $73 million just a tenth of what NASA spend while sending its spacecraft to the red planet.


The RLV –TD weighed 1.7  tons. It’s height measured upto 6.5 meter.The cost of the project was  95 crore.  A team of 600 scientists worked hard to make this launch successful.

HS9  solid rocket booster carried RLV –TD  upto a height of 56 km in space  from where RLV separated itself. RLV- TD then further went up  to a height of 65 km.


From there it glided into space before re-entering into the atmosphere and landed on  the prefixed  spot over the Bay of Bengal. The total time from  launching to landing in sea was approximately thirteen minutes.

The final version of the space shuttle will take at least 10-15 years to build and it will be six times larger approximately 40 metre.


All  the data from launching, flying in space upto the  time it landed over Bay of Bengal will be collected by ISRO  Telementary ,Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC). The  dummy RLV –TD will not be recovered from the sea.

This flight tested various technologies such as  hypersonic flight ,autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.

Presently no country is using space shuttle, last being USA that has retired it’s Columbia  space shuttle in 2011. Russia too used space shuttle, but only once in 1989.

RLV –TD  will have to face competiton from private space agencies such as SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Blue Origin's New Shephard Rocket .Both the companies have already partially tested  re-usable space shuttles.