They successfully got an orbiter all the way to Mars in September, and now India's space programme has hit an exciting new milestone. They've launched the biggest rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.
"This was a very significant day in the history of (the) Indian space programme," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K.S Radhakrishnan announced, as the rocket launched into a $25 million test mission, AFP reports.
The new 630-tonne, 42-metre-tall rocket, called the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III, has been designed to carry heavier communication and satellite equipment into orbit than they've ever been capable of before - up to 4 tonnes worth. The hope is that within the next 10 years it will also be able to transport three astronauts into space at a time.
"India, you have a new launch vehicle with you. We have made it again," S. Somnath, director of the mission, told the public on Thursday. "The powerful launch vehicle has come to shape, which will change our destiny… (by) placing heavier spacecraft into communications orbits."
The team reports that their unmanned capsule successfully detached itself from the rocket 20 minutes after lift-off, and splash-landed off the coast of India into the Bay of Bengal, as planned.
Future plans for the rocket include developing a more powerful, Indian-made. The team is now working on a new type of cryogenic engine, which they're hoping to test out in the next couple of years.