3rd launch pad to be built

The facility would result in reduction of preparation time

The launch pad is being constructed for the manned mission to space in 2016 and other programmes like the GSLV-MK III. As ISRO scales up the number of launches in a year, the third launch pad is bound to reduce the pressure on preparation time between launches.

The proposal has already been approved by ISRO governing council and is now in the design stage, according to officials at SDSC. At present, the estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,300 crore. The preparations at Sriharikota 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. Work on improved cryogenic systems will also be undertaken simultaneously as the estimated weight of the launch vehicle is bound to increase.

Two landing sites are also being considered for the manned flight, one near Goa in the Arabian Sea and the other close to Sriharikota in the Bay of Bengal. Officials point out that the required site will have to enable transport of the crew to the ground as early as possible.

ISRO spokesperson S Satish said that it was not yet clear whether ISRO would be using the GSLV Mk-II or III for the mission.  “That will be decided when we finalise whether we will be sending two or three astronauts in space,” he said.

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