Government is planning to set up a new rocket launch pad in Tamil Nadu. Currently, the Indian Space Research organisation (Isro) has two launch pads at Sriharikotta, Andhra Pradesh. The development comes on the backdrop of increasing launches from India, both for domestic and international customers.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Thursday said, "Government has proposal to set up rocket launching pad near Kulasekarapattinam in the state of Tamil Nadu".
While the minister did not elaborate on the usage and Isro officials could not be reached immediately, the new launch pad is intended to be used for future Indian rockets like the Unified Modular Launch Vehicle, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III and Avatar RLV (Avatar Reusable Launch Vehicle), small satellite launch vehicle, as well as the older ones like Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.
Number of launches every year by the space agency has increased over 30. In 2018, the space agency launched 17 missions.
Today, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR spaceport at Sriharikotta is responsible for integration of launchers. It houses two operational launch pads from where all GSLV and PSLV flights take place. Isro has launched most of its customer satellites with its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). From 1994 to 2015, PSLV has launched as many as 84 satellites, of which 51 were for international customers, as per the agency.
Isro is developing the next variant of GSLV is GSLV Mk III, with indigenous high thrust cryogenic engine and stage, having the capability of launching 4 tonne class of communication satellites. The space agency is also working on small rockets to carry small satellites.
The indigenously developed Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) is being designed by scientists to carry smaller commercial satellites into the low-earth orbit less than 2,000 km above the earth's surface. The SSLV, which can carry 500 kg to the low earth orbit, can be assembled within days by a smaller team and at a drastically reduced price as compared to PSLV.