ISRO to build third launchpad at Sriharikota

With plans for 60 missions over the next five years, ISRO will develop a third launchpad at its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh to meet the growing demand.

"We are planning to have a third launchpad at Sriharikota to cater to our future missions," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan told the media.

He said the new launchpad would help ISRO augment the frequency of missions, which was necessary to meet its ambitious targets.

"We plan to launch 24 missions over the next 24 months, which include our communication satellites and some foreign payloads," he said, adding that over a five year period, the space agency has plans to launch 60 missions.

The new pad could also be used 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 vehicle assembly building, mobile pedestals, umbilical towers, emergency exits, ground escape system, crew ingress and egress systems, safety bunkers, material handling equipment and related electrical systems.

It is also part of ISRO's plan is to develop dedicated 'Space Park' next to the space port at Sriharikota. The new missions are necessary as there have been demands in the international market for ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle to launch foreign satellites.

As ISRO starts building a launch vehicle for its mission, a launchpad gets blocked for nearly two months till the launch of a satellite.

With ISRO setting a target of 24 missions in 24 months, more launchpads become a necessity.

Besides communications satellites, ISRO also has plans to launch Chandrayaan-II, the sequel to its successful moon mission, launch a satellite to study the Sun, send a probe to Mars and undertake a human spaceflight.

On plans for developing another space port, Radhakrishnan said it was only at the stage of a feasibility study.

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