Rocket Launching Stations in India: List of Satellite Launch Centres

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : January 25th, 2023

Rocket Launching Stations in India are three in number, namely the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Satish Dhawan Space Centre and Dr Abdul Kalam Island. A rocket launch site, commonly referred to as a spaceport or cosmodrome, is where spacecraft are launched or received. The cosmodromes of this earth are crucial to our daily lives. To inform us of the weather, orbiting satellites monitor weather patterns. These cosmodromes offer the essential infrastructure to place these satellites into orbit, beginning with a rocket launch.

Let us now discuss more about the Rocket Launching Stations in India and their locations.

Rocket Launching Stations in India

The Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, is the country's national space agency. Its headquarters are in Bengaluru. The first testing rocket was launched from Thumba, which is close to Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on November 21, 1963, marking the beginning of India's space programme.

India has three Rocket Launching Stations, namely:

Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre- Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

  • When it first opened in 1962, the facility was known as the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), but it was later renamed in honour of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, who is frequently hailed as the pioneer of India's space programme.
  • One of the key centres for research and development (R&D) under ISRO is the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
  • The ASLV, PSLV, GSLV, and GSLV Mk III families of launch vehicles, as well as sounding rockets, the Rohini and Menaka launchers, are all being developed at this domestic facility.

Abdul Kalam Island- Military Rocket Testing Site in India

  • Off the coast of Odisha, India, Dr. Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island, is home to the Integrated Test Range missile testing facility.
  • The Launch Complex-IV (LC-IV) on Abdul Kalam Island and the Launch Complex-III (LC-III) at Chandipur make up the Integrated Test Range, a missile testing facility.
  • It is controlled by the DRDO and is where most of India's military missile tests occur.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre

  • A rocket launch facility called the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) or Sriharikota Range (SHAR) is situated at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. It was started back in 1969.
  • It is a perfect location because of its proximity to the equator and the size of the neighbouring unpopulated area. At the moment, this location handles the majority of Indian launches.
  • With a new third launchpad being developed expressly to achieve the goal of launching a manned space mission, it will serve as the primary base for the Indian human spaceflight programme.

Rocket Launching Stations

Any location where rockets are fired is referred to as a rocket launch site. It might include a launch pad or places where a portable launch pad could be mounted. It is frequently encircled by a sizable safety zone that is referred to as a rocket range or missile range. The range comprises the estimated flight path of launched rockets as well as potential landing zones for specific rocket parts. Sometimes tracking stations are placed in the launch zone to monitor the course of the launches.

Major spaceports frequently include multiple launch complexes, which can be used as alternative launch locations for different launch vehicles. Suitable storage facilities, as well as, in some cases, production facilities, are necessarily required for launch vehicles using liquid propellant.

Location of a Satellite or Rocket Launch Centre

One thing to remember is that launch pads for rockets or satellites are typically located close to the equator since it is simpler to launch from the eastern side. This has a lot to do with the physics of the Earth, which is spherical because it revolves around a central axis. Your feet travel across the earth more quickly the closer you are to the Equator.

This fact is caused by how quickly the Earth rotates. Because the rockets are headed eastward, there will be less risk of human casualties if something goes wrong during their ascent because any debris will land in an ocean distant from densely populated areas.

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FAQs on Rocket Launching Stations in India

  • As of today, India has three Rocket Launching Stations - Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Satish Dhawan Space Centre and Dr Abdul Kalam Island.

  • Any location where rockets are fired is referred to as a rocket launch site. It might include a launch pad or some places where a portable launch pad could be mounted. It is frequently encircled by a sizable safety zone that is referred to as a rocket range or missile range. 

  • Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, Baikonur, Plesetsk, Kourou, Tanegashima, Jiuquan, Xichang, and Sriharikota are the busiest spaceports or satellite launch facilities.

  • The ability to send satellites or spacecraft into sub orbit, orbit, and beyond is provided by 35 spaceports and launch facilities worldwide. 

  • The first Rocket Launching Station in India is the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station.

  • The satellite launch facility for India is located at Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh). The Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) or Sriharikota Range is the facility used for launching satellites (SHAR).

  • The Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launch Station (TERLS) near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, are the two launch facilities that India currently operates under ISRO.

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has a total of 21 centres across the country that are in charge of various facets of space research, including the production of satellites, the development of launch vehicles, and even the tracking of spacecraft once they have been placed into orbit around the Earth or beyond.

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