KULASEKARAPATTINAM SPACEPORT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     1st March 2024        

Context: The Prime Minister recently laid the foundation stone for a new spaceport at Kulasekarapattinam in southern Tamil Nadu.

Kulasekarapattinam Spaceport

  • About: Kulasekarapattinam, nestled near Tiruchendur in Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu, is set to host a new spaceport, augmenting the country's launch capabilities.
  • Second Spaceport in India: Following the footsteps of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, founded in 1971, this new spaceport will mark India's second major facility for space launches.
  • Focus: The spaceport will specialize in the launch of SSLVs, catering to commercial demands in the satellite launch market.
  • Facilities and Infrastructure: With 35 integrated facilities, including launch pads, rocket integration facilities, and ground range and checkout facilities, the spaceport is poised to support a robust space launch program.
  • Notably, it will feature a mobile launch structure (MLS) equipped with checkout computers for efficient launches.
  • Launch Capacity: The spaceport aims to launch up to 24 satellites annually, facilitated by its advanced infrastructure and operational capabilities.
  • Geographical Advantage: Spanning 2,350 acres, the Kulasekharapatnam spaceport enjoys a strategic advantage: it can launch rockets directly south over the Indian Ocean, thus reducing fuel requirements compared to polar orbits necessitated by Sriharikota's geography.
  • Cost Estimation: The project is estimated to cost Rs. 986 crore, reflecting the government's commitment to advancing India's space exploration endeavors.

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)

  • Number of Stages: Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) is a 3 stage Launch Vehicle configured with three Solid Propulsion Stages and liquid propulsion-based Velocity Trimming Module (VTM) as a terminal stage. 
  • Payload: SSLV is capable of launching 500kg satellite in 500km planar orbit
  • key benefits of SSLV: SSLV have Low cost, with low turn-around time, flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, Launch on demand feasibility, minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc.
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