It is important to keep in mind that there are many other countries that have aspirations of space flight.
Earlier today India took a major step forward with its space program by launching its own version of a space shuttle. The unmanned, scaled down version of what will be the final shuttle, called the swadeshi, launched from Sriharikota at 7 am local time and was immediately called a success by ISRO, the Indian equivalent of NASA. It flew to an altitude of 70 kilometers then glided back to the Bay of Bengal, where it “landed” in a spectacular crash on a watery “runway.” It was all per plan – future test flights will incorporate landing gear and touchdown on paved runways.
Some interesting tidbits about this new shuttle:
The shuttle launched today was 6.5 meters long and is a 1/6th scale prototype of what the final will be.
This small version was unmanned, but so will be the final version, at least from a pilot standpoint. Current plans call for it…
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