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Incredible images from India’s first space shuttle launch

Quartz india
Quartz india

On May 23, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested a prototype of a reusable space shuttle.

The Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), which is about six times smaller than the final planned space shuttle, spent a little less than 13 minutes in flight before landing. Some 600 scientists at ISRO—India’s equivalent of NASA—have been working on the space agency’s shuttle programme for a decade now.

“After successfully surviving high temperatures of re-entry with the help of its thermal protection system, RLV-TD successfully glided down to the defined landing spot over the Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 450km from Sriharikota, thereby fulfilling its mission objectives,” ISRO said in a statement.

It’ll still take at least a decade before the first “Made in India” shuttle is ready for launch, but the test is proof that India may be on its way to join handful of other countries who have developed these indigenous vehicles.

Here are some photographs of the RLV-TD, released by ISRO:

RLV-TD getting ready for transportation

RLV-TD getting ready for transportation
(ISRO)

RLV-TD in transit

India-ISRO

RLV-TD moving towards launch pad

(ISRO)

RLV-TD ready for launch

RLV-TD ready for launch.
(ISRO)

RLV-TD at the launch pad

RLV-TD at launch pad.
(ISRO)

RLV-TD lift off at 7 am on May 23

The rocket booster carrying RLV-TD lifted off from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 7 am on May 23.
(ISRO)

Full speed ahead

(ISRO)

Going, going, gone

India-ISRO

Here’s a video of the launch:

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