The Indian Space Research Organization will fly a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) this March as a technology demonstration. This will be the first step towards developing a full-fledged vehicle that can go to space, inject an orbiter and come back to land.
Reusable vehicles reduce the cost of satellite launches by up to ten times. Moreover, in future, a much developed version of the vehicle could be used for manned missions.
Fitted with solid strap-on thrusters similar to the ones used in PSLVs, the reusable vehicle will fly at five times the speed of sound (mach 3) to reach an altitude of more than 100km. This would last for barely five minutes. After activating its fin and wing controls, the vehicle will glide a bit before starting its descent.
The water landing is planned because India doesn't have a long enough runway.
While India spends Rs300 crore upwards for satellite launches, reusable vehicles hold the key to more affordable launches. Today putting a 1kg object in space costs about $5000. This should be brought down to at least $500.