ISRO’s logo. Photo: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas
New Delhi: Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi said that the land acquisition process for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s rocket launch facility at Kulasekarapattinam in the district has reached the final stage and that the Tamil Nadu government will push for subsequent work to begin at the earliest.
According to The Hindu, Kanimozhi said work on acquiring land for ISRO’s space vehicle launch facility was going on as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government was “keen on establishing a rocket launch pad at Kulasekarapattinam”. The land acquisition process had reached an advanced stage and the government will soon hand over the land to ISRO.
“I will meet the officials concerned during my visit to New Delhi to press the demand for the early commencement of work on this facility,” she said.
In September 2020, minister of state Jitendra Singh had said that the Tamil Nadu government has identified around 2,300 acres for the port, which will have one launchpad. ISRO’s existing spaceport at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota has two functioning launchpads.
ISRO zeroed in on Kulasekarapattinam for its second spaceport in December 2019. As The Wire Science had reported then, it would allow ISRO to launch smaller satellites more frequently using the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), which is under development.
The Wire Science had also reported that the second port will provide strategic advantages such as allowing vehicles to enter polar orbits straightaway, without having to swerve to avoid flying over Sri Lanka, as is necessary for vehicles taking off from Sriharikota. This manoeuvre requires more fuel, therefore forcing smaller launch vehicles to reduce their payload.
ISRO chairman K. Sivan confirmed in June last year that Kulasekarapattinam’s geographic location has a strategic advantage, allowing the SSLV to fly straight to the south pole.
“The payload loss in big vehicles is manageable. When it comes to small satellite launch vehicles, such manoeuvres won’t give any payload capability. We selected Kulasekarapattinam because it gives us the benefit of launching straight in the southward direction,” Sivan said, according to the Times of India.