Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR at Sriharikota is one of the best-known names among the Spaceports of the World today. India's Space vehicles fly from here giving an assured access to Space for indigenous satellites as well as commercial satellites. Diverse kinds of Space missions with remote sensing, communications, and scientific satellites are accomplished from here. The Space Centre, which was popularly known as SHAR (Sriharikota Range), was renamed as 'Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR' on September 5,2002, in the fond memory of Prof. Satish Dhawan, former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The Indian Space Programme during its early phase, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, along with the development of 'Rohini' series of sounding rockets, embarked on the indigenous development of satellites and the launch vehicles to carry them. Accordingly it was decided to set up a rocket launch station on the East Coast of India, far from densely populated areas. While importance was given to a location which would be advantageous for various missions, safety dictated that the range should have a large uninhabited area around it. Complying with such prerequisites, the spindle shaped coastal island of Sriharikota in Potti Sriramulu Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, situated in the backwater Pulicat Lake, sandwiched by Buckingham Canal on the West and Bay of Bengal on the East, was found suitable. Thus, the Sriharikota Island was chosen in 1969 for setting up of a rocket launch station. It became operational on October 9, 1971 with a flight of 'Rohini-125', a small sounding rocket. Since then the facilities here were gradually expanded to meet the growing needs of ISRO.
Off Sullurupeta, a small town on the Chennai - Kolkata National highway (NH-5), a 20 minutes drive towards the East along the road laid across the Pulicat Lake, takes one to Sriharikota.
Sriharikota covers an area of about 43,360 acres (175 sq.km) with a coastline of 50 km. Island is mostly covered with vegetation that includes Eucalyptus, Casuarina and shrub jungle. Both South-West and North-East monsoons serve the island leaving a large number of sunny days suitable for out-door static tests and rocket launchings. During October- December, thousands of migratory birds visit the Pulicat Lake from far-off places, turning the Sriharikota region into a veritable paradise for ornithologists and nature lovers.