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ISRO's Kulasekarapattinam Launchport: Space Advancements



  Mar 07, 2024

ISRO’s Second Rocket Launchport in Tamil Nadu’s Kulasekarapattinam



Why is ISRO building a second rocket launchport in Kulasekarapattinam, Tamil Nadu?

ISRO’s decision to establish a second launchport in Kulasekarapattinam, Tamil Nadu, is driven by the need to accommodate an increasing number of commercial satellite launches, following the Union government’s policy to open the space sector to private entities. This new facility aims to prevent overburdening the existing Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota with launches, providing a dedicated site for smaller payloads and commercial, on-demand launches.

What are the advantages of the Kulasekarapattinam location?

Kulasekarapattinam offers geographical, scientific, and strategic benefits for launching the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) due to its direct southward launch trajectory. This location allows for shorter and more fuel-efficient routes compared to SHAR, which requires a detour around Sri Lanka. Being closer to the equator also enhances payload capacity, a critical factor for geostationary satellite launches.

What is the status of the new launchport’s development?

As of the last update, the Tamil Nadu government has completed land acquisition, handing over more than 2,000 acres to ISRO for the development of the launchport. ISRO Chairman S. Somanath has indicated that construction could take up to two years, with the facility potentially supporting 20 to 30 SSLV launches annually.

What are SSLVs, and why are they important?

SSLVs are designed by ISRO to cater to the launch of small satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). These vehicles are optimized for cost-effectiveness and quicker launch timelines, making them ideal for mini, micro, or nano satellites. SSLVs support the growing demand for commercial and on-demand satellite launches, including projects from educational institutions and private sector players.

How has India’s SSLV journey progressed?

The SSLV journey began with a setback when the first mission, SSLV-D1, failed to insert its satellites into the intended orbit in August 2022. However, ISRO successfully corrected its course with the SSLV-D2 mission in February 2023, achieving the desired orbital insertion of three satellites. This success marks a significant step in expanding India’s launch capabilities for small satellites.

What are the features of the existing SHAR facility?

The Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, located on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh, is equipped with comprehensive launch infrastructure that supports all of ISRO’s missions. It includes facilities for solid propellant processing, static testing, launch vehicle integration, telemetry services, and mission control. SHAR houses two operational launch pads that cater to a range of launch vehicles, including PSLV, GSLV, and LVM3.

Conclusion

The establishment of a second launchport in Kulasekarapattinam, Tamil Nadu, represents a strategic expansion of India’s space launch capabilities, particularly for small satellite launches. This move aligns with the country’s broader goals to enhance its presence in the global space market, support private sector participation in space activities, and optimize launch logistics for improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness.


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