Wednesday, January 10, 2007
India Launches Test Re-Entry Capsule to Low Earth Orbit
India has launched the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C7 rocket with four satellites with one among them a test re-entry capsule that will advance the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) space program to take steps to a 2014 human launch effort.
The successful launch occured from the Satish Dhawan spaceport near Bangelore at 9:23 AM Wednesday morning in India, (10:53 p.m. EST Tuesday). Only the 4th nation looking to launch humans to orbital space, India appears to be seeking to master hi-tech rocketery engineering after Russia, America, China, and the European Union.
The Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SCRE-1) is a 550 kg hypersonic aero-thermdynamic capsule intended to demonstrate Indian technology for a microgravity space platform. After the initial space test over 13 to 30 days, the capsule will be de-orbited for recovery in the Bay of Bengal.
"Launching a satellite we've done in the past, recovering one, we'll do for the first time,” said ISRO Chairman, Madhavan Nair adding, "Certain inputs like re-entry, thermal protection systems and software we develop will be useful for a manned mission also. But manned mission is a long way to go." Nair added "at least eight years for a manned mission to the moon from India," in contemplation of cislunar human travel.