Bengaluru: The country’s first private launchpad and mission control centre has been established within the ISRO campus at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.
The launchpad is designed and operated by Chennai-based space-tech startup AgniKul Cosmos.
”Humbled & privileged to have had the opportunity to build our 1st launchpad & Mission Control Center within Sriharikota & to have it inaugurated by Chairman, @isro. Agnikul’s launches would be carried out from here. Thanks to @isro & @INSPACeIND for their help & valuable support,” the company tweeted.
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The facility was inaugurated by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and Secretary in the Department of Space, S Somanath, on November 25.
The chairman expressed pleasure over the establishment of the first private launchpad in the country and said ”India can now travel to space from one more space platform”, an ISRO statement said on Monday.
AgniKul co-founder and CEO Srinath Ravichandran said the ability to launch from one’s own launchpad while still working with ISRO’s launch operations teams is a privilege granted by the space agency and Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) and that he is deeply grateful for this, it said.
”Establishment of this private launchpad marks a significant step in opening the Indian space sector to private players and affirms the commitment of ISRO/DOS for facilitating the same,” the statement said.
”The current facility has a launchpad and a mission control centre. The latter is about four kms away from the launchpad. The system is compliant to support liquid stage-controlled launches, monitor key flight safety parameters by ISRO’s range operations teams during launches and share the data with ISRO’s Mission Control Centre,” it was stated.
AgniKul, incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT Madras), plans to guide and control its upcoming launches from this facility.
In its first launch, a two-stage launch vehicle, ‘Agnibaan’ is intended to carry a payload of up to 100 kilograms to around 700 km altitude, the statement said.