India's space agency releases video of reusable space shuttle test, saying technology worked as planned.
The shuttle was brought in to land on the sea becuase India doesn't have a long enough runway to allow it to come down on the land, and a soft sea landing was considered the best way of recovering the craft.
"The wings are very small, so it’s still going to be a very huge challenge to land it on a runway and therefore we are landing it straight back on the ocean," Rajeswari P Rajagopalan, the head of the independent think-tank Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, said.
The 13-minute test mission was an important step towards developing a full-scale, reusable shuttle to send up satellites and, once proven, could also be used to deliver astronauts into space.
At later stages of development, ISRO plans to build a supersonic scramjet engine into the shuttle which would give the craft an effective range and the ability to manoeuvre in space.
"At the end of the day, the mission's objective is to reduce the cost of space launches, for human space missions as well," says Rajagopalan.
India's shuttle is not expected to come into service for at least 15 years, but ISRO hopes the reusable technology will reduce costs and make access to space more affordable.
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