The test model was about six times smaller than the actual version, which is planned to be about 40-meters-long. ISRO plans to test two more prototypes in the coming years.

“Many such experiments will be carried out in the future, such as for the parachute system which will be put together eventually. We are looking at frugal engineering, developing advanced systems efficiently,” K Sivan, director of ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre said. “The final reusable launch vehicle will not be ready for another decade.”

It’s a bit of a wait, but India’s shuttle programme is looking to slash the costs of space missions by about 10 times.

Currently, space shuttle programmes are run by a select few, including the European Space Agency, which launched a prototype in Feb. 2015 and entrepreneurs like SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

NASA, the pioneer of the space shuttle, discontinued its Space Transportation System programme in 2011 after four decades due to massive operational costs.

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