India's Experimental Space Capsule Returns to Earth
India's Space Capsule Recovery Experiment-1 (SRE-1) is seen here as it is prepared for a Jan. 10, 2007 launch (Local Time).
Credit: ISRO.

NEW DELHI (AP) - An Indian space capsule splashed down in the Bay of Bengal on Monday, giving engineers a chance to test technology needed to return astronauts to Earth, an official said.

The capsule orbited earth for 11 days before re-entering the atmosphere, S. Krishnamurthy, a spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organization, told The Associated Press.

The 550-kilogram (1,210-pound) Space-Capsule Recovery Experiment was intended to test the organization's ability to track and recover a returning space capsule, he said [image].

Recovery efforts were underway, he said.

An Indian-developed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C7, took off on Jan. 10 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, and successfully deployed three satellites in addition to the space capsule - India's CARTOSAT-2, Indonesia's LAPAN-TUBSAT and Argentina's PEHUENSAT-1 - into a 635-kilometer (395-mile) high polar orbit, a statement said [image].

India has not announced specific plans for a manned space mission, but an unmanned moon mission is scheduled for 2008.