India’s new spaceport. Tamil Nadu to set up space park near upcoming Kulasekarapattinam  spaceport

T.E. Raja Simhan Updated - March 07, 2023 at 03:18 PM.

Tidco floats an RFP for preparing a feasibility report for the Space Industrial Park and Propellants Park near Thoothukudi

representative image | Photo Credit: R Senthil Kumar

The Tamil Nadu government is planning to set up Space Industrial Park and Propellants Park near Thoothukudi to take advantage of Centre’s move to build a new spaceport in Kulasekarapattinam in southern Tamil Nadu.

Kulasekarapattinam will be used by private companies to launch small satellites into orbit.

The State government has mandated Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco) as the nodal agency to implement Defence Industrial Corridor project to promote aerospace and defence industries in the State.

Tidco has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to select a consultant to prepare a feasibility report to establish the Space Industrial Park and Propellants Park.

Since inception, the Indian space programme has been developing satellites for communication and remote sensing, space transportation system and application programmes.

Two major operational systems have been established—Indian National Satellite (INSAT) for telecommunication, television broadcasting, and meteorological services and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) for monitoring and management of natural resources and disaster management support.

Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) lunar and interplanetary missions and other projects continue to generate crucial scientific data that are extremely valuable to the scientific community.

Watch | ISRO GSLV Mark III marks India’s grand entry into the commercial satellite business

In 2020, the Centre permitted private companies to venture into the space industry, which had been under the complete control of ISRO. The new policy is aimed at allowing ISRO to concentrate on scientific space missions rather than engaging in routine activities like launching weather and communication satellites. The new policy also seeks to leveraging the strengths of private sector to make India one of the most self-reliant spacefaring nations.

Small satellite market

The global small satellite is projected to grow at a CAGR of 16.4 per cent and is estimated to reach $13711.7 million by 2030 from $3215.9 million in 2020.

Taking cognizance of the potential of small satellites market, the Centre has embarked on establishing a new spaceport at Kulasekarapattinam.

The proposed industrial parks are expected to ease supply chain constraints for the upstream activities of Kulasekarapattinam spaceport. The Tamil Nadu government is planning to link these industrial parks with the related industries in the State such as electronics, mechanical structures and propulsion chemicals.

The common test centres, common facilities centres and the centres of excellence would provide a support base for the linked industries, the document said.

Advantage Kulasekarapattinam

ISRO Chairman, S Somanath, last year said that work on the proposed spaceport at Kulasekarapattinam will begin shortly after getting mandatory clearance from the Centre and security agencies.

There has been a plan to acquire 2,376 acres of land, including 141 acres of government land in Kulasekarapattinam. The State government nominated eight tahsildars to complete the land acquisition process. As land acquisition has been completed, Somanath recently visited the proposed launch site at Koodal Nagar near Kulasekarapattinam.

Also read: ISRO scripts history with successful commercial mission LVM3-M2

According to Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder and CEO of Agnikul Cosmos, Kulasekarapattinam is a sweet spot for launching small satellites. “There is no land between that place and Antarctica, it’s a beautiful belt for launches. The rule is that you cannot fly over a land mass if you are not in orbit. By the time you are flying over Antarctica, you are in orbit,” the CEO of Chennai-based space start-up told businessline last November.

“For the orbit, you can either go parallel to the equator or go perpendicular (pole-to-pole). Thumba is also equally good, and we would be interested. The idea is to go to a place that is best for the mission. We don’t want to be stuck to one specific infrastructure,” Ravichandran added.

A cargo truck and four caravans are all that are required to launch small satellites, and Kulasekarapattinam is an ideal spot, he said.

Published on March 7, 2023 15:17

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