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Hometamil-naduISRO chairman calls on M K Stalin, discusses opening Kulasekharapatnam launchpad in...

ISRO chairman calls on M K Stalin, discusses opening Kulasekharapatnam launchpad in state

Chennai: ISRO chairman S Somanath on Monday said the space agency’s initiative of establishing a second launchpad at Kulasekharapatnam in southern Thoothukudi district was progressing and that it would be ready in about two years’ time.

The Tamil Nadu government had already sanctioned 2,000 acres of land in the coastal district for the ambitious project, whereby private rockets can be launched, saving more fuel than it would consume while launching them from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, he said.

“I came here to meet Chief Minister M K Stalin and to thank him for his support to ISRO and for honouring our scientists who contributed to the Chandrayaan-3 programme,” Somanath said after calling on the chief minister at the secretariat here.

He presented Stalin with a model of Chandrayaan-3.

“Had a constructive meeting with @isro chairman Thiru. S. Somanath. He gifted me with a #Chandrayaan model, a testament to Tamil Nadu’s role in #ISRO’s success. Applause to Thiru Somanath and his team for their stellar achievements!” the chief minister said in a post on social media platform X, posting a photo of their meeting.

“We are building our own second launchpad at Kulasekharapatnam and requested the chief minister’s support. The government has sanctioned 2,000 acres of land and we are going through various other clearances,” Somnath told reporters.

At present, clearances are required for connectivity, power and construction activity he said, and added that he sought the state government’s help in completing the project in two years’ time.

“Kulasekharapatnam is more advantageously placed than Sriharikota in launching small rockets, as it would save payload and avoid flying over the Sri Lanka island mass,” Somanath, who is also the Secretary of the Department of Space, said.

ISRO had in November 2022 opened a private launchpad and mission control centre within the ISRO campus at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, Sriharikota for the first time.

(Published 16 October 2023, 15:55 IST)

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