New Delhi: The Americans recently retired their one of the most successful space shuttles, the Atlantis. Now, India is working towards realising its dream - to create a re-usable satellite launch vehicle.
An engineering model of what scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) call the re-usable launch vehicle, is currently housed at a secure and secret facility in Kerala. Covered with special heat resistant tiles, soon it will roar skywards.
"We are dreaming about a fully re-usable vehicle, there are several elements we need to understand as of now we have a technology demonstrator," said Dr K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO.
The unmanned Indian space shuttle will be initially launched vertically like a rocket and in the first few flights it will be dropped back into the sea, but later it will make a landing like any other aircraft.
The Americans have retired the space shuttle as it was just too expensive to fly, the Russian version called Buran was abandoned almost 20 years ago, but India - the new kid on the space block - is forging ahead with its plans to launch an Indian shuttle in a few years.
ISRO feels this technology will drastically reduce the cost of launching satellites to space. Indeed ISRO is dreaming big.