Chennai: Veteran scientist and former chief general manager of the Liquid Propulsion System Centre (LPSC) in Trivandrum N. Sivasubramanian believes that an additional 400kg equipment could have been sent in the Mangalyaan mission but for Isro’s obsession with Sathish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.
The veteran scientist has revived the debate over establishing the country’s third rocket launch centre at Kulasekarapattinam, instead of Sriharikota, which already has two launch centres. The association of staff of LPSC, Mahendragiri, had even sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Notably, DMK president M. Karunanidi had also written to the PMO seeking to establish the 3rd rocket launch centre at Kulasekarapattinam, thanks to his MP daughter Kanimozhi who personally took up the matter with PM and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi after consulting senior scientists.
Sivasubramanian, who held the office in Mahendragiri and Vallimala among other vital Isro establishments, told DC that the rocket, which put Mangalyaan into orbit, could have carried 1,750 kg to 1,800kg of equipment instead of 1,350 kg if it were launched from Kulasekarapattinam. He cites three major reasons. (i) Closeness to equator (ii) proximity to liquid propulsion centres in Mahendragiri and Valliamala (iii) Conducive climate.
Isro top brass would have some serious answering to do, for a seven-member committee constituted last year to identify the ideal location for the 3rd rocket launch centre, has not tabled its report as yet.
In his December 20, 2012, order Isro chairman K. Radhakrishnan set February 28, 2013, as deadline for professor K. Narayana led committee to table the report. Isro sources in the know of things revealed that the committee, had met just once since its constitution was divided. While the chairman suggested some part of Krishna district, another important member wanted it in Sriharikota, sources revealed.
A PSLV rocket launched from Kulasekarapattinam could be put in orbit without a Yaw maneuver and even a GSLV rocket launched from there would require only a 8 degree Yaw maneuver, while the same would require 14 degree Yaw maneuver if launched from Sriharikota, Sivasubramanian reasoned, pointing out that instead of 300kg of additional fuel required for the Yaw maneuver, equipment like transponders or cameras of equal weight could be sent if launched from Kulasekarapattinam.
Lot of money could be saved in logistics by laying a dedicated rail route from Kulasekarapattinam to LDSC in Mahendragiri and Vallimala from where most equipment are brought for launch, instead of moving it by road to Sriharikota, he added.