First test flight of India’s prototype space shuttle delayed

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Because of a discovered leak, India’s space agency ISRO has delayed the first flight of an engineering test prototype of a reusable space shuttle.

Sources said on Sunday that the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), under development at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) here at Thumba, developed a minor leak during a test, forcing the ISRO to postpone the mission. The ambitious RLV-TD, the first small step to building a ‘space shuttle’ which can return to earth after accomplishing space missions, is likely to be delayed up to April 2016. ISRO had originally planned a mid-2015 launch for the RLV-TD. It had later been postponed to January 2016.

VSSC Director Dr K Sivan said that some of the components had to be re-assembled. ‘’If things go as planned, we can launch the mission in the first week of February. Otherwise, the test will be conducted in the first week of April,’’ he said.

One comment

  • wodun

    I like the concept of a top mounted shuttle type vehicle. Assuming they don’t have some sort of boost stage, pairing something like this with SpaceX could lead to a fully reusable system. Strange that they would choose to land the test vehicle in the ocean though.

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