The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to launch the Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) space shuttle, which has been developed by the country’s own indigenous efforts.

As part of its initiative, ISRO scientists are developing a winged body design prototype that is about the weight and size of a sports utility vehicle (SUV).

However, while some countries are abandoning the idea of using a winged reusable launch vehicle, ISRO considers it as a way to reduce satellite launching expenses.

"The proposed launch is claimed to be the first of its kind being undertaken by ISRO."

ISRO scientists also consider that the cost of launching materials into space could be lowered by as much as ten times if reusable technology succeeds as expected, cutting the cost down to $2,000 a kilo, reports PTI.

However, the agency has not disclosed the exact date of launching the shuttle, but expects to launch it before this monsoon season in India from the launch pad of Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The proposed launch is claimed to be the first of its kind being undertaken by ISRO, in which the spacecraft will be flown back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal after launch.

Once landed, the scientists might not be able to recover the RLV-TD from sea as the vehicle is not designed to float.

With the first experiment, ISRO intends to glide and navigate the launch vehicle onto a selected virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal located some 500km away from the coast.

The RLV-TD to be used in the experiment is a scale model, which is around six times smaller than the final model and will require between ten and 15 years to be developed.

Designed to help developing a two-stage-to-orbit (TSTO) reusable launch vehicle, the RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions created by ISRO.

Once fully developed, the configured RLV-TD expects to act as a flying test bed to assess various technologies such as powered cruise flight, hypersonic flight, and autonomous landing using air-breathing propulsion.