With busy plans for over 50 missions during the next five years, country’s premier space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has got the Centre’s nod to establish a high-tech rocket assembly centre and also to setup third launch pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota. Both are coming up in 3 square kilometres at a cost of about Rs 500 crore. At present ISRO have two launch pads with rocket assembly centre in SDSC complex. “The Department of Space has recently issued sanction orders to first set up a new high-tech vehicle assembly centre. We have identified the site in the SDSC complex itself. The preliminary activities including designing work have started”, Mr S V Subbarao, Deputy Director, and Vehicle Assembly told Deccan Herald He said though the Centre has given nod to construct a new launch pad, the orders will come very soon. According to him, the launch pad and vehicle assembly complex will be coming in an area of about 3 sq km, which is bigger than the measurement of the existing two launch pads. The launch complex will provide complete support for vehicle assembly, fuelling, checkout and launch operations. Apart from these, it will have facilities for launching sounding rockets meant for studying the earth’s atmosphere. On the new launch pad, the official said that it would be designed for launching Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III) carrying heavier satellites as also by the reusable launch vehicle, India’s own version of a space shuttle. It would include construction of a new mobile pedestals, umbilical towers, emergency exits, ground escape system, crew ingress and egress systems, safety bunkers, material handling equipment and related electrical systems. ISRO sources said that during the 12th Plan period, the Indian space agency has planned 58 missions, including 33 satellite missions and 25 launch vehicle missions. The space agency will also adopt appropriate outsourcing strategies for promising production of launch vehicles, enhancement of infrastructure for launch vehicles and developing advanced technologies for the future. National Committee under ISRO had conducted detailed survey by visiting several places in the south including Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu and Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh to set up new launch pad.
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