India has 2 more space program successes: largest rocket launched, unmanned crew pod tested

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India has announced two more successes in its space program — launching the country's largest rocket and testing the re-entry of an unmanned crew module, part of India's quest to send humans into space.

The Indian Space and Research Organization said Thursday that the 630-ton rocket blasted off from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The rocket was carrying the crew module and released it 125 kilometers (78 miles) above the Earth. The pod, meant for carrying two to three astronauts, splashed down in the Bay of Bengal.

But experts say it will be several years before India can send astronauts into space.

In September, it joined an elite club when it successfully guided its Mars Orbiter Mission into orbit around the red planet.