ISRO is working on numerous space missions. And to maintain the timeline of these missions, the space agency needs multiple launching sites. In a step towards the same, ISRO is acquiring land to build its second launchpad in Tamil Nadu. The new spaceport will be set up in a town in Thoothkudi called Kulasekarapattinam, reports IANS.
ISRO Second Launchpad At Kulasekarapattinam
According to the report, the Thoothukudi district collector, Sandeep Nanduri says ISRO is acquiring a total of 2,300 acres for the launchpad. The news of the second launchpad has been going around for nearly a year now. But there was no confirmation till now. So far, India has only one spaceport, namely the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. All the PSLV and GSLV rockets are launched from here, including the Chandrayaan-2 and the resent Cartosat-3 satellites.
The SDSC was established in 1971 and has two active launchpads. The first of these is mainly used for the PSLV satellites. The second is used for the GSLV spacecraft. ISRO is currently working on the second launchpad here to accommodate the ambitious Gaganyaan manned mission.
ISRO Second Launchpad To Boost SSLV
Now, coming to the future spaceport in Tamil Nadu, it is expected to be an important foothold for ISRO's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). The SSLV satellites are the smaller counterpart of the PSLV. At present, the PSLV spacecraft require more fuel as they fly east before heading to the South Pole to avoid any debris falling on Sri Lanka.
Hence, the smaller rockets like the SSLV will help ISRO in many ways, especially with Antrix- the agency's limited payload for commercial venture operations. The ISRO second launchpad in Kulasekarapattinam will lift off over the Lakshadweep Sea and would completely avoid Sri Lanka.
ISRO states that the new launchpad will be beneficial for PSLV spacecraft as well. However, analysts say that the size of the proposed spaceport might be constricting for PSLV rockets to take off. The first two launches of the SSLV are both developmental flights and are scheduled to take off from the SDSC from Sriharikota. The first flight from the second launchpad will take off from 2020 after which all the SSLV spacecraft will take off from Kulasekarapattinam spaceport.