Tamil Nadu to house India’s 2nd spaceport

The work on the country’s second spaceport has begun in Tamil Nadu as Indian Space Research Organisation is gearing up for increased launch activities in coming years.

Days after Union minister for department of space Jitendra Singh informed the Rajya Sabha in the current session that “the government has a proposal to set up a rocket launching pad near Kulasekarapattinam in Tamil Nadu”, Isro chairman K Sivan confirmed that the “land acquisition process has started in Tamil Nadu for the second spacesport”. Major space-faring countries have multiple rocket launch centres.

Sivan said the proposed spaceport will “mainly cater to launches of newly developed Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV or mini-PSLV). The initial launches (around two) of the SSLV will be from Sriharikota but once the second spaceport is ready, subsequent SSLV launches will be shifted there”. The Isro chairman also confirmed that the first launch of SSLV with “payload-lifting capability of around 500 kg is due in the first quarter of 2020”. He said depending upon demands later, other rockets could also be launched from the proposed spaceport.

Sivan told TOI that “straight launch towards southward will be possible as the launch centre in Tamil Nadu is on the seashore. Because of the straight path, we can carry more payloads. Currently, we can’t launch straight towards southwards from Sriharikota (SHAR, Andhra Pradesh) and all rockets fly around Sri Lanka.”

The TN spaceport will be ideal for putting satellites in the polar orbit through a PSLV and not for GSLV launches to the geostationary orbit. “The launch centre will be smaller than SHAR,” Sivan said.

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