The second spaceport is a long pending demand from Tamil Nadu government since DMK was in power from 2009 with the then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi requesting the Centre to construct the third launch pad at Kulasekarapattinam.
The proposal by Tamil Nadu was accepted by the Centre after consulting with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) authorities, who also gave the nod that Kulasekarapattinam is a suitable location for a rocket that needs to fly southwards.
However, the project was delayed due to several issues including local protests that cropped up during the land acquisition process.
“We have started land acquisition process near Manapad village,” Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri told DT Next on Saturday.
Stating that a total of 2,300 acres of land will be acquired for the spaceport, he said, “The whole process will be completed between six to eight months.” Accordingly, officials from ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district is co-ordinating with the State government.
A senior official from ISRO also said that the second spaceport, at a cost of about Rs 2 lakh crore, will have assembling facilities and two launch pads, which will be bigger than the two existing at Sriharikota.
“Soon after the land acquisition, the whole project will take at least two years to complete,” he said adding that instead of transporting the second and fourth stages of the rocket from Mahendragiri to Sriharikota, it will be easier to shift to the launch pad at Kulasekarapattinam, which is about 100 km away.
Claiming that over 4,000 and 10,000 persons will get direct and indirect employment respectively, the official said that the second spaceport will enhance the whole launch frequency to more than ten satellites per year.