The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched its Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III rocket on Thursday, marking its biggest ever rocket launch.
Scientists hope the rocket's unmanned capsule will one day be able to carry up to three astronauts into space. During the test launch, the capsule successfully detached itself from the rocket and landed in the Bay of Bengal on India's east coast.
The GSLV Mk-III rocket weighs 630 tonnes and can carry as much as four tonnes of cargo into space. Its test mission in Sriharikota, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, cost almost $25 million.
India hasn't matched other countries' space programs in recent years, but the new rocket marks India's desire to "grab a greater slice of the $300-billion global space market," according to Discovery News. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the test mission a display of the "brilliance and hard work" of Indian scientists.
For the ISRO, the next step is to develop a new "indigenous engine" for the rocket. The new engine would reduce India's reliance on rocket engines built in Europe. They hope to use the engine within the next two years, and they could use the rocket to send astronauts into space in seven years.