India makes a major step forward in spaceflight

Thursday evening, India performed a flawless suborbital test flight of their new GSLV Mk 3 rocket.  Looking like a fatter Titan IV, this rocket boosted a prototype CARE space capsule on a trajectory that would help validate its heatshield and parachutes, with a final splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.  They still have a lot of work before they’re ready to put humans into space, but this is a huge step forward along that path.  It also enables them to compete for the bigger commercial payloads that presently mostly fly on Proton or Ariane V, so this is a big deal in a lot of ways.

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