RLV-TD India’S First Reusable Space Shuttle Launched (Download PDF)

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India՚s first Reusable space shuttle Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) has been successfully launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

  • This space shuttle is part of series of technology protest missions, which is measured as a first step towards realizing a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.
  • RLV-TD glided back onto a virtual runway in Bay of Bengal and re-entered the atmosphere after reaching a height of over 70 km after launch.

Key facts:

  • RLV-TD is flying body atmosphere vehicle that functioned in hypersonic flight regime.
  • It is capable of launching satellites into orbit all over the earth and then re-enter the atmosphere.
  • It has been organized to act as a flying tested to assess various technologies, counting hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight.
  • Nine-ton solid rocket motor (SRM) is used to launch it which is designed to scald gradually to put up the vertical lifting of winged body.
  • The RLV-TD was 6.5 meter long and has aeroplane like structure.
  • It has around 1.75 tonnes weighs and is very similar to the elderly US space shuttle.
  • 600 scientists team have constructed it in over five years at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.


  • RLV is being called as India՚s own space shuttle and measured as the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access.
  • ISRO՚s RLV will be challenging with two US based private companies namely SpaceX՚s Falcon 9 rocket and Blue Origin՚s New Shephard rocket, which have already partially tested re-usable space shuttles.

About Two-Stage-to-orbit:

  • A two-stage-to-orbit (TSTO or DSTO - Double/Dual-Stage-To-Orbit) launch vehicle is a rocket in which two distinct stages are available to momentum consecutively in order to achieve orbital velocity.
  • It is midway between a three-stage-to-orbit launcher and a hypothetical single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) launcher.
  • At launch the first stage is liable for rushing the vehicle.
  • At some point the second stage splits from the first stage and continues to orbit under its own power.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 24, 2016

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