'It is the only place where...': Moon Man Mylswamy on why Kulasekarapattinam is a sweet spot for ISRO launches

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : Feb 27, 2024, 10:02 PM IST

Updated : Feb 28, 2024, 4:39 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday will lay the foundation stone for ISRO's second rocket launch pad at Kulasekaranpatnam via video conference in Tuticorin district in Tamil Nadu.

Former ISRO Director and Scientist Mylswamy Annadurai while speaking to ETV Bharat said that Kulasekarapattinam will bring a big change in the space industry.

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday laid the foundation stone for ISRO's second rocket launch pad at Kulasekarapattinam via video conference in Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu. Former ISRO Director and Scientist Mylswamy Annadurai, known as Moon Man of India said that Kulasekarapattinam would bring a big change in the space industry as the rocket launch pad and the space manufacturing park will be established in the same place.

The land acquisition work for the rocket launch site, which is located in an area of 2,233 acres, is almost complete, he said. Kulasekarapattinam was one of the areas recommended for the launch site even before the rocket launch pad was set up at Sriharikota in 1969, former ISRO director and scientist Mylswamy Annadurai said.

Speaking to ETV Bharat, Annadurai shared the importance of the Kulasekarapattinam rocket launch site. Scientifically, most satellites are launched in the polar orbit. Kulasekarapattinam is on the east coast and there is no landmass south of it. Mylswamy Annadurai pointed out that if we look at the lessons learned in the last 50 years, Kulasekarapattinam is the only place where the sea is in the southern direction when sending rockets.

Recently thousands of low-mass (250-300 kg) satellites have been launched for telecommunication and remote sensing. After seven to eight years, the satellite has almost reached the end of its life. He said that there is an immediate need to send a replacement satellite to that location.

"We used to send 50 to 100 satellites in one big rocket. But, if the same procedure is followed, the defunct satellites cannot be replaced immediately. For example, if a satellite providing cell phone service fails, it should be replaced immediately. Can't wait for more satellites to arrive. At the same time, sending small satellites with larger rockets will cost more, he added.

"Globally, the PSLV is the most economical launch vehicle. More economical is SSLV. If PSLV costs Rs 120 crore, SSLV is Rs 30 crore. Moreover, two satellites can be launched by SSLV if launched from Kulasekarapattinam. However, only one satellite can be sent from Sriharikota as it requires more capacity to transmit. All future satellites from Kulasekarapattinam will be launched through SSLV, Annadurai said.

Annadurai further stated that Sri Harikota has only one launch pad. Satellites, rocket parts and other parts are assembled and dispatched from places like Thiruvananthapuram, Mahendragiri and Bengaluru. But, in Kulasekarapattinam not only the rockets, but also all the necessary equipment will be manufactured and kept ready. Even if a satellite is planned to be launched tomorrow, it can be launched immediately.

"SpaceX founder Elon Musk follows a similar strategy. But he did not get a Kulasekarapattinam-like launch pad in America. If the launch pad is established at Kulasekarapattinam, it can do well not only scientifically, but also commercially. In four to five years we will be able to launch one satellite per day or two or three satellites per week," he said. Mylsamy Annadurai hoped that Tamil Nadu would become the world's space centre. Mylswamy Annadurai also mentioned that India is approaching other countries through the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

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Last Updated :Feb 28, 2024, 4:39 PM IST
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