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07-03-2024

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

GS-3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

The cornerstone for ISRO's second rocket launchpad was laid on February 28 in Kulasekarapattinam, situated in the Thoothukudi district of coastal Tamil Nadu. It will be dedicated solely to commercial, on-demand, and small satellite launches in the future.



Why is the new ISRO launch port located in Tamil Nadu?

  • Geographical advantage: Kulasekarapattinam launch port is strategically located in coastal Tamil Nadu, providing a direct southward trajectory for Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV) which require less fuel.


  • Strategic importance: Kulasekarapattinam's proximity to Colombo, several kilometers to the west, enables straight southward flights without the need to skirt eastwards around Sri Lanka, further conserving fuel for SSLV launches.


  • Scientific benefit: Its location allows for shorter launch trajectories compared to launches from SHAR, ISRO's current launch site, leading to fuel savings and increased payload capacities for SSLVs.


  • Notably, both the launch ports are located on Southern India, near the equator.

 

About SHAR

  • SHAR is located along the east coast of Andhra Pradesh, approximately 80 km away from Chennai.


  • The facility currently serves as the launch infrastructure for all ISRO missions.


  • It is equipped with various facilities including solid propellant processing setup, static testing, and launch vehicle integration facilities.


  • Additionally, SHAR provides telemetry services for tracking and command network oversight during launches, along with a mission control center.


  • SHAR has two launch complexes, primarily used for launching the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the Geosynchronous Space Launch Vehicles (GSLV), and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III, now known as LVM3.

 

Why does India need a new launch port?

  • Increased commercial launches: With the opening of the space sector to private players, there is an expected surge in commercial launches, necessitating additional launch capacity.


  • Support for private players: The new launch port will provide infrastructure for private companies to develop space-qualified systems, build satellites, and launch vehicles, fostering growth in the commercial space sector.


  • Relieve burden on existing facility: To prevent overburdening the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota, which handles larger missions, a new launch port is required for smaller payloads.


  • Specialized missions: SHAR will continue to handle major missions like lunar and interplanetary missions, including the Gaganyaan human-flight mission, while the new launch port will focus on smaller payloads.

 

 

What are SSLVs and what are they used for?

  • SSLVs (Small Satellite Launch Vehicles) are compact launch vehicles developed by ISRO specifically for launching small satellites.


  • SSLVs have a three-stage design utilising utilize a combination of solid and liquid propulsion stages.


  • Payload: SSLVs are designed to launch small-sized satellites weighing between 10 to 500kg into Low Earth Orbit (LEO), including mini, micro, or nano satellites.


  • Benefits: Offers cost-effective solutions for satellite insertion into orbit, with shorter flight times compared to larger launch vehicles.


  • Applications: Primarily used for commercial and on-demand launches, catering to various satellite projects including those from college students and private players in the space sector.


ISRO's SSLV journey:

  • First attempt (SSLV-D1) in August 2022: Failure due to improper satellite insertion into orbit.


  • Second attempt (SSLV-D2) in February 2023: Achieved success, with three satellites successfully inserted into the intended orbit.

 

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