Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation has acquired land for the proposed rocket launch site in Tamil Nadu where a launch pad would be set up, the chief of the space agency said on Sunday. ISRO chairman S Somanath said the space agency was currently in the process of consolidating the land at Kulasekarapatnam in Thoothukudi district, about 650 kilometres from here.
"The second launch site is at Kulasekarapatnam (in Tamil Nadu), we have already acquired the land. Currently, we are consolidating the land to ensure it is all within our boundary wall," he told reporters here, after the successful launch of 36 satellites on board the LVM3-M2/OneWeb India-1 Mission.
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ISRO has planned to set up a second launch site and had identified the coastal town in Tamil Nadu for taking up missions that require small satellite launch vehicles as compared to the one in Sriharikota which is currently in use for missions undertaken by the space agency.
"The design for the launch pad is ready. Once the land comes into our control in terms of protection like security, we will commence construction," the Chairman said. The whole construction activity is expected to take place in two years, he said responding to a query. Regarding the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, Somanath said the space agency was looking at a launch window by June-July 2023.
Besides the successful launch of the 36 satellites, the press conference also turned into a jubilant mood as it was double delight for ISRO scientists and members of Network Access Associated Limited (OneWeb) Ltd, since October 23 marks the birthday of Sunil Bharti Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Enterprises.
Bharti Enterprises is one of the major investors and shareholders in OneWeb Ltd. Somanath and a host of leaders including NewSpace India Chairman and Managing Director D Radhakrishnan extended their birthday greetings to Mittal on the occasion.
Mittal, who arrived on Saturday at the spaceport to witness the launch, took some time to witness the launch pads, the LVM3-M2 rocket and also took pictures of him along with Somanath at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
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"Excited to be at #SHAR (Sriharikota). A historic moment for India, proud day for me and a very important mission for OneWeb," the official account of Bharti Airtel said in a micro-blogging site. Commenting on Sunday's successful mission, Mittal who is also the Executive Chairman, OneWeb said, "Today's launch is a significant milestone for OneWeb."
"This new phase of our launch programme from India brings us a step closer to not only enhancing our global coverage but also delivering connectivity in India and South Asia, particularly to the communities who need it most," he said. (PTI)