The Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator, abbreviated as RLV-TD is India’s step towards a Space Shuttle.
India launched RLV-TD on Sriharikota at 7:00 am local time and landed 13 minutes later (May 23,2016). RLV-TD is ultimately aimed to put satellites in orbit around earth and re-enter atmosphere. The Demonstrator launched is a scale model which is almost six times smaller than the final version. RLV-TD has the size and weight similar to a SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle).The final version is expected to be ready by 2026 or 2031.
Currently Russia and US are the only nations to launch a space shuttle. Through this launch India joined the list.
ISRO believes that Reusable Launch Vehicle’s reduce the cost of launching stuff into the outer space by as much as 10 times, bringing it down to USD 2,000 per kg. Today’s RLV-TD is the first attempt to a series of missions planned by ISRO before actually attempting a full-fledged RLV.