The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) accomplished a milestone on Monday.
The organization successfully launched an un-manned reusable rocket approximately 43 miles into the air, which was followed by a descent back to Earth at five times the speed of sound landing in the Bay of Bengal, according to Popular Science. ISRO released a statement explaining this test launch validated technologies like autonomous navigation, reusable thermal protection systems and re-entry mission management.
Engadget noted this model was only 7 meters long, which is why it won’t be offering passenger flights anytime soon.
However, the project is believed to cost close to $14 million over the course of five years. That figure is relatively miniscule when compared to the billions entrepreneurs like Elon Musk spend on their own reusable rocket projects or the financing the U.S. or China would need to perform full-scale explorations of the Moon or Mars.
“One of the reasons that India has been able to punch well above its financial weight in the space race is due to its considered approach. Rather than practical experiments, the country spends plenty of time scouring data from other countries’ space missions. That way, it can identify errors that entities like NASA and Roscosmos made previously and find shortcuts around them,” according to Engadget.
Mint, one of India’s daily newspapers, reported ISRO’s next steps will be a test analyzing the ship’s landing capabilities since this experiment primarily focused on its flight systems.
The paper posted a video of the launch below.