Indian space agency wants second rocket assembly facility

Chennai, July 3 (IANS) The Indian space agency is awaiting the government's nod for one more vehicle/rocket assembly building at its second launch pad in Sriharikota at an outlay of around Rs.350 crore, said a senior official.

"The Department of Space has approved the project which is awaiting the final nod from the government," a senior official at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS.

According to him, the second vehicle assembly building for the second launch pad at its rocket port in Sriharikota, around 80 km from here, will enable ISRO to put together the various stages/engines at a faster pace into a full rocket and increase the number of launches in a year.

Presently, ISRO has two rocket assembly facilities and two launch pads.

It needs over a month's time to ready a launch pad after each rocket blast-off.

According to officials, ISRO is also looking at the need and possibility of having a third launch pad at Sriharikota.

During the 12th Plan period, the Indian space agency has planned 58 missions, including 33 satellite missions and 25 launch vehicle missions (17 PSLV, six GSLV Mark II missions and two GSLV Mark III including an experimental one).

According to ISRO, it will also adopt appropriate outsourcing strategies for assuring production of launch vehicles, enhancement of infrastructure for launch vehicles and developing advanced technologies for the future.

ISRO also carried out the first of the five orbit raising manoeuvres Tuesday night of its first navigation satellite Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1A (IRNSS-1A) launched Monday night.

The orbit raising activity is done by firing the satellite's onboard motors towards its geo-synchronous orbit at 36,000 km.

Despite several attempts to get his views on the orbit raising activities, D. Ravindranath, director at the Mission Control Facility (MCF) located at Hassan in Karnataka, was not available for comments Wednesday.

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