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Editorial of the Day (7th Mar): India’s Second Rocket Launch Port


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the second rocket launchport of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at Kulasekarapattinam in Tamil Nadu.
  • It will be extensively and exclusively used for commercial, on-demand, and small satellite launches in the future.

Why does India need a new Launch Port?

  • Increased Launch Traffic: The Indian government’s new policy allowing private players in the space sector is expected to lead to a significant rise in commercial launches.
  • Easing Burden on Existing Port: To avoid overloading the existing Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) with the increased launch volume, a new facility is needed.
  • Dedicated Purpose:
    • SHAR will focus on launching larger payloads and India’s major missions (Moon, Venus, Gaganyaan).
    • The new Kulasekarapattinam launch port will be dedicated to handling smaller payloads for commercial launches.
  • Private Sector Participation: The new launch port will provide infrastructure for private companies to:
    • Develop space-qualified components.
    • Build satellites.
    • Launch their own vehicles.

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Reasons for New Launchport Location in Tamil Nadu

  • Geographical Advantage for SSLVs:
    • Kulasekarapattinam’s location offers a natural benefit for launching Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLVs).
    • It allows a straighter southward trajectory, saving fuel compared to the eastward detour needed from SHAR due to Sri Lanka’s proximity.
    • This strategy is crucial for maximising payload capacity of lightweight SSLVs with limited fuel.
  • Proximity to Equator:
  • Both launchports are situated in southern India near the equator.
  • As explained in the book “From Fishing Hamlet to Red Planet: India’s Space Journey,” closer proximity to the equator provides a significant velocity boost (around 450 m/s) due to Earth’s rotation, ultimately increasing payload capacity.
  • This is particularly advantageous for launching geostationary satellites, which require positioning in the equatorial plane.
Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLVs)
  • What are they? Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLVs) are a new ISRO development designed specifically for launching small satellites.
  • Key features: Three-stage solid propulsion with a liquid propulsion terminal stage
  • Applications: Launching small satellites (10-500kg) into Low Earth Orbit for various purposes:
    • Mini, micro, or nano satellites
    • Lower cost compared to larger launch vehicles
    • Faster satellite insertion due to shorter flight times
  • Target users:
    • Commercial satellite launches
    • On-demand launches
    • Previously used by college and private space projects

India’s SSLV Journey

  • SSLV-D1 (August 2022): First mission, carrying two satellites (EOS-02 and AzaadiSat).
    • Launch was successful, but failed to insert satellites into the intended elliptical orbit due to an issue during separation.
  • SSLV-D2 (February 2023): Second mission, carrying three satellites.
    • Successful launch, inserting satellites into the intended 450 km circular orbit.
  • Launch Sites: Both missions launched from SHAR.
About SHAR Launch Center
  • Location: East coast of Andhra Pradesh, 80 km off Chennai.
  • Current role: Provides launch infrastructure for all ISRO missions.


  • Solid propellant processing setup
  • Static testing and launch vehicle integration facilities
  • Telemetry services (tracking and command network)
  • Mission control centre

Launch pads:

  • First Launch Pad (operational since 1993)
  • Second Launch Pad (operational since 2005)

Used for launching:

  • Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
  • Geosynchronous Space Launch Vehicles (GSLV)
  • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (LVM3)

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