A powerful new Indian launcher and a precursor to a future piloted space capsule flew to the edge of space on a 20-minute test mission Thursday.
The GSLV MK. 3 rocket and the Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment, or CARE, took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on India’s east coast at 0400 GMT Thursday (11 p.m. EST Wednesday; 9:30 a.m. local time). Powered by twin solid rocket boosters and two Vikas engines on a liquid-fueled core stage, the rocket accelerated to nearly 12,000 mph and an altitude of nearly 80 miles before releasing the capsule for a descent back to Earth.
The landing craft deployed a series of parachutes — including 100-foot-diameter main chutes — to slow down its descent before splashdown. The Indian Coast Guard was expected recover the capsule and return it to India for inspections.
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See photos of the rocket’s liftoff and the landing craft after splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.
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