The land acquisition in Tamil Nadu''s Tuticorin district for India''s second rocket port is under progress, a top district official said on Friday.
"The process for acquiring land for the rocket launching pad has begun. The land requirement will be about 2,300 acres. The project activity is expected to begin in six months time," Tuticorin District Collector Sandeep Nanduri told IANS.
"The government has a proposal to set up a rocket launching pad near Kulasekarapattinam in the state of Tamil Nadu," Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
With the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) increasing its rocket launch missions, a need has been felt for a second rocket port.
The Indian space agency is also in the process of realising a small rocket with a carrying capacity of 500 kg. ISRO currently flies two kinds of rockets - the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
Major space faring nations have multiple rocket launch sites.
India presently has one rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh with two launch pads.
"Tuticorin is a good location for a rocket that needs to fly southwards. As a matter of fact, it was considered long ago for locating a rocket launching site but the locals opposed this," an ISRO official had earlier told IANS.
"A rocket launch site should be on the east coast and near the equator. And Tuticorin district satisfies that condition," a former ISRO official had told IANS.
A spaceport in Tuticorin district would thus be ideal for putting satellites in polar orbit normally undertaken through a PSLV rocket, and not for satellites with geostationary orbits launched by GSLV rockets.
Besides, ISRO has its Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district where it assembles the second and fourth stage engines for the PSLV.
Instead of transporting the second and fourth stages to Sriharikota from Mahendragiri it would be easier to shift them to the launch pad if it is built in Kulasekarapattinam which is around 100 km away.