Sriharikota, a remote inaccessible island, was acquired in the year 1969 to establish a national range for launching of multistage rockets and satellite launch vehicles. Features like nearness to the Equator, largely uninhabited island, and good launch azimuth corridor for various missions, situated on the east coast of India, identifies SHAR as an ideal spaceport. Sriharikota is located 18 km east of Sullurupeta, a small town on Chennai - Kolkata National Highway between Nellore and Chennai. Sriharikota covers an area of about 43,360 acres (175 sq.km) with a coastline of 50 km.
SHAR, popularly known as "Spaceport of India", is located at Sriharikota a spindle shaped island. This space centre was renamed as Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR on September 5, 2002 in memory of Prof. Satish Dhawan, former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
SDSC SHAR embarked its journey into space by launching RH-125 from Sriharikota on October 9, 1971. Launch facilities were set up in early eighties, for the first generation ISRO satellite launch vehicles, namely SLV-3 and ASLV. SDSC SHAR houses the necessary infrastructure for launching sounding rockets, satellite launch vehicle missions (PSLV/ GSLV/ LVM3) to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO), Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), controlled reentry missions & deep space missions.
Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB) and Solid Propellant Plant (SPP) produce world class solid propellant rocket motors for launch vehicles. Solid Motor Performance and Environmental Test Facilities (SMP & ETF) houses the test facilities for testing the rocket motors both at ambient conditions and at simulated high altitude conditions.
Vehicle Assembly and Launch Facilities (VALF) consist of two launch complexes namely First Launch Pad (FLP) and Second Launch Pad (SLP). It also houses segment/stage/spacecraft preparation and integration facilities for Launch Vehicle assembly.
Liquid Propellant Storage and Servicing Facilities (LSSF) consist of Earth Storable Propellant / Cryogenic Propellant storage and transfer facilities for servicing the liquid stages of launch vehicles.
Range Operations facilities comprise of Tracking, Telemetry & Telecommand, CCTV systems, Servo Systems, Optical Tracking systems, Technical Photography, Mission Control Centre (MCC), Launch Control Centre (LCC), Mission Computers, Specialist Display System (SDS), Range Safety, Meteorology facility and Range Timing. All these facilities provide real time support during launch.
System Reliability (SR) Group ensures availability and implementation of quality system in all the activities of SDSC SHAR for every launch. They include solid motors production, testing & qualification, ground systems at launch complex, assembly and integration of various flight systems, propellant storage and servicing systems, tracking, telecommand, electronic interfacing systems and real-time systems.
Technical support groups like SHAR Central Designs (SCEND) and Advance Systems Group (ASG) play a vital role in designing various systems. Construction and Maintenance Group (CMG) takes care of planning, execution and maintenance of all the civil works of the centre. Programme Planning & Evaluation Group, Library & Documentation Facility & Human Resource Development division support the centre in various programmes.
Apart from these Common facilities like Administration, Accounts, Purchase and stores, Transport, SHAR Fire Services (SFS), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Security Systems, Canteen, Telecommunication, Well-equipped hospitals, Environment Forestry and Horticulture Division etc., extend the necessary support.
At Sriharikota and Sullurupeta the necessary infrastructure has been created with well planned townships meeting all the needs of employees. The housing colonies are provided with amenities, such as well-paved and lit roads, protected water supply, shopping complexes etc. The space central school provides education up to class XII. Well-equipped hospitals provide medical care to the community. Banking, Postal and Transport services are also provided for the convenience of the residents of this island.
SDSC SHAR has two solid propellant processing plants for processing large solid boosters for the satellite launch vehicles.
The first plant namely Solid Propellant Booster Plant (SPROB) was set up in the late 1970's for SLV-3 requirements and later got expanded to meet the solid propulsion requirements of PSLV and GSLV. This plant can process rocket motors segments up to 3.5 m in length and 2.8 m in diameter. The most significant one among the various motors processed at this plant is the first stage booster motor of the PSLV, a five segmented motor of 2.8 m diameter and 20 m length, weighing 160 tonnes with a thrust level of 450 t. The same booster motor powers the first stage of GSLV. A light weight Kevlar cased high performance upper stage solid rocket motor that powers the PSLV third stage, is one of the advanced rocket motors produced here.
The second plant namely Solid Propellant Plant (SPP) is for processing S200 booster of LVM3, the three segmented motor of diameter 3.2m and overall length of 25 m has a propellant loading of 207 t. The plant was set up with a capacity of four motor per year. This is one of the largest plants of its kind in the world. The processing facilities include hardware insulation & machining, casting, curing, inhibition & tilting, propellant and Inhibition Machining, non-destructive testing and magazine for storage. It has five mixing stations facilitating continuous propellant casting. The plant is state of the art and has automation in every aspect of production. This versatile plant can also produce S139 segments & PSOM-XL motor (in triple Casting mode).
The main ingredients of the propellant produced at these plants are ammonium perchlorate (oxidizer), fine aluminum powder (fuel) and hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (binder). The raw materials for the solid propellant processing are completely indigenous. Homogeneous mixing of these chemicals in a vertical mixer forms viscous slurry, which is poured under vacuum into the rocket motor case. Prior to this, the motor case is prepared with a thermal insulation liner. The propellant slurry polymerizes with the addition of curing agents and forms a solid mass having requisite mechanical properties. The rocket motor thus produced undergoes Non Destructive Testing (NDT) using high-energy radiation for detecting any flaws like de-bonding, air bubbles, cracks and voids.
SDSC SHAR has two operational launch complexes, each equipped with the necessary infrastructure for launching satellite into low earth orbit, polar orbit and geostationary transfer orbit. The launch complexes provide complete support for vehicle assembly, checkout and launch operations. Apart from these, facilities for launching sounding rockets meant for studying the earth's upper atmosphere are also available at SDSC SHAR.
The individual stages of PSLV/ GSLV/ LVM3, their subsystems and the spacecrafts are prepared at separate facilities before they are sent to launch pad for integration.
The First Launch Pad(FLP) and its associated facilities were built in the early 1990s, primarily for the PSLV launch requirements. Later, they have been adapted for the GSLV launch requirements. It was built on the concept of Integrate on the pad, according to which, the individual stages of launch vehicle are brought from their preparation facilities, one after the other, and integrated on the launch pad itself. The mobile service tower (MST) equipped with foldable and vertically repositionable access platforms facilitates the integration activity. The spacecraft, which is checked thoroughly and fuelled at its preparation facilities arrives at the launch pad for integration with the launch vehicle.
Separate storage, transfer and servicing facilities are available for earth storable liquid propellants such UH-25 and N2O4 and cryogenic propellants such as Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen. These propellants are fed into onboard tanks through fluid circuits. The filling operations, which are automated, are controlled and monitored from the Filling Control Centre (FCC), situated 6 km away from the launch pad. A few hours before the launch, the MST, which weighs about 3200 tons moves slowly to its parking place on 32 wheels, 8 nos. in each corner, along the rail track leaving the launch vehicle on the launch pedestal for lift-off.
In order to provide redundant facilities for launching the operational PSLVs and GSLVs, and also to have quick turnaround time for launch, an additional launch pad with associated facilities was constructed and it became operational since 2005. It was designated to accommodate, both the present PSLVs and GSLVs. Later modifications/ improvements were carried out to accommodate LVM3.
As per the Integrate, Transfer and Launch (ITL) concept, the Second Launch Pad(SLP) and the associated facilities were designed. The entire vehicle is assembled and checked-out on a mobile launch pedestal in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), and then moved in vertical position to the launch pad on a rail track. This method reduces the pad occupancy and enables the vehicle to move back to VAB for protection, in the event of any cyclone warning. Solid Stage Assembly Building (SSAB) was realized for meeting the Integration requirements of LVM3 upto L110 stage. The important facilities under SLP include
Liquid propellant Storage and Service Facilities (LSSF) carries out the activities relating to storage and transfer of Earth storable propellants, Cryogenic propellants and Service fluids and servicing the liquid and Cryo stages of the launch vehicles during the countdown at both Launch Complexes. Earth storable liquid propellant complex and cryo propellants complex form two major facilities of LSSF. Liquid propellant complex handles fuels such as UH25, MMH and oxidizers such as N2O4, MON.
For servicing the Cryo stage of GSLV and LVM3 Cryo propellant storage and propellant transfer systems are established at both launch complexes. Since the boiling points of LH2 (-252 ℃) and LOX (-182 ℃) are very low, it is necessary to have super insulated storage tanks and pipe lines for handling these propellants.
The stages and ground systems require service fluids, such as Nitrogen, Helium and compressed air for commanding the valves, purging the systems, thermal conditioning of the stage etc.
The Range Instrumentation facilities comprise of tracking, telemetry and telecommand systems. High precision radars track the launch vehicle. The vehicle position information is instantaneously computed in real time from the tracking data and is used for evaluating the performance of the vehicle. The performance data of various sub-systems of the vehicle is acquired by telemetry ground stations. If the vehicle malfunctions and deviates from the trajectory beyond the acceptable limits, the Range Safety Officer terminates the flight using telecommand system.
The Mission Control Centre (MCC), situated about 6 km away from the launch complex, coordinates and conducts the launch operations during the countdown phase till the injection of the spacecraft into orbit. Thereafter the control of the spacecraft is taken over by the Spacecraft Control Centre located at Bengaluru/Hassan. The MCC is linked to all the ground stations through fibre links for voice and data transmission. The launch preparations on the vehicle are monitored from the MCC using a multi-channel closed-circuit television system.
A group of spacecraft preparation facilities, which are versatile, safe and totally secured are available at SDSC SHAR. They effectively meet the growing size of satellites, as well as customer requirements for more efficient, cost effective and fast-paced launch campaigns by offering maximum operational flexibility. They enable different phases of spacecraft preparation namely, checkout, fuelling and final pre-launch validation. All these activities performed in clean room conditions. SDSC SHAR can process spacecrafts up to 5 ton class, while ensuring a smooth launch campaign even for the bigger satellites.
All the above facilities are equipped with satellite checkout links (RF and cable links). Adequate area is available for customers to install their satellite checkout and control consoles. Enhanced and uninterruptible power supplies (two chains of 2 x 160 KVA) ensure continuous operation. Electronic support services, viz., CCTV, timing and intercom are also provided. A modern high-speed communications network is installed for users during the satellite preparation campaign.
The data sources and sinks are geographically distributed all over the Range and in various parts of the globe. A real-time network with state of the art technology is deployed and is continuously expanded and upgraded to meet various requirements. Various network products are deployed as per the requirement.
In general, all the sources are designated as ground station network whereas all the sinks are designated as display station network.
A network monitoring console is used for effective real time network monitoring.
WAN links are established between SDSC SHAR and VSSC to provide Remote SDS display. General purpose servers are configured to receive data from real time network and transmit the same from SDSC SHAR to VSSC.
This network is used to provide DOL Wind Biasing data on launch day.
SGC Network is configured to connect check-out computers of all satellite preparation facilities. It facilitates satellite data transmission to real time servers located at Mission Computers.
The well-equipped meteorological observatory provides accurate forecast of weather at regular intervals during launch campaign and during countdown. A wind profiler radar is developed to augment the MET facilities. With the instrumentation available here, thunderstorms can be predicted accurately. The MST Radar near Gadanki (about 100 km away from SDSC SHAR) also provides data for weather forecast. Upper wind measurement (up to 20 km height) is carried out using balloon tracking. Besides the radar track data, indigenously developed GPS-Radio Sonde (GPS-RS) is also used for wind measurement. The data is used for the Day of Launch Wind Biasing (DOL-WB). Numerical weather prediction technique is adopted for precise weather forecast.
Solid Motor Performance and Environmental Test Facilities (SMP & ETF) is mainly responsible for conducting static testing of solid rocket motors, both at sea-level and simulated high altitude conditions. It also caters to the environmental testing requirements of solid rocket motors and their subsystems which include Vibration, Shock, Constant Acceleration, and Thermal/Humidity. The following are the test facilities:-
For Sea level static Testing, Single component and six component test stands are designed and developed in house to measure the axial thrust and side force components. The rocket motors are extensively instrumented to measure various parameters such as chamber pressure, axial thrust, and temperature on motor case and nozzle and strain, etc.
High Altitude Test Facility is meant for simulating high altitude vacuum conditions for testing upper stage rocket motors. In this high altitude test facility Vacuum ignition of motor, Motor subsystem performance in vacuum, Nozzle qualification for full flow conditions and Motor tail-off thrust characteristics are validated.
In vibration test facility, an electro-dynamic shaker is used for testing of rocket motor and their subsystems by simulating required longitudinal and later vibration.
Simulating low temperature, high temperature, temperature cycling and different humidity conditions on the rocket motors and their subsystems is carried out in Thermal Soak & Humidity Test Facility.
Simulating acceleration loads on the rocket motor is conducted at Constant Acceleration Test Facility.
Aero Acoustic Test Facility (AATF) is used for simulating the acoustic levels during liftoff of the launch vehicle. Water injection system has been employed to suppress the acoustic levels, the water injection parameters like injection pressure, location of injection, angle of injection, mass flow rate of water has been extensively studied for suppressing the acoustic loads.
As part of qualification programme Proof Pressure test or burst tests are conducted on newly realized hardware or to gain confidence of an old hardware or even to evaluate the failure mode of the hardware.
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