Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha that the government has approved the establishment of a new spaceport in Kulasekarapattinam, Tamil Nadu along with Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory – India (LIGO-India) project.
A new spaceport in Kulasekarapattinam, Tamil Nadu, will carry out the launches of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV) developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- Under Indian Space Policy 2023 there is the provision for utilization of a spaceport for carrying out launch activities by Non-Government Entities (NGEs), subject to technical feasibility and range safety constraints.
- The Policy opens up the sector for enhanced participation of NGEs across the entire value chain of the space economy, while clearly delineating the roles of various stakeholders like IN-SPACe, ISRO, NewSpace India Limited and Department of Space.
- Singh said that the Government has set up the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) as a single-window agency for promotion and authorisation of space activities. The budget allocations for IN-SPACe are 2023-24 ₹95 crore; 2022-23 ₹33 crore and 2021-22 ₹10 crore.
- On the new launch pad that ISRO is building at Kulasekarapattinam in Thoothukudi district along the coast in Tamil Nadu, ISRO Chairman S Somanath said that nearly 99 per cent of the 2,000 acres has been transferred to ISRO by the Tamil Nadu government.
- The Tamil Nadu government is planning to set up Space Industrial Park and Propellants Park near Thoothukudi to take advantage of the Centre’s move to build the Kulasekarapattinam spaceport.
- Dr Jitendra Singh also informed that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory – India (LIGO-India) project has been approved by the Government of India at an estimated cost of Rs. 2600 Crore, with Department of Atomic Energy as the Lead Agency. He said, after completion of the project, LIGO-India will be operated as a national facility for detecting Gravitational Waves and Research in related areas of Astronomy.
- The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) - India is a planned advanced gravitational-wave observatory to be located in India as part of the worldwide network, whose concept proposal is now under active consideration in India and the USA. LIGO-India is envisaged as a collaborative project between a consortium of Indian research institutions and the LIGO Laboratory in USA, along with its international partners.
- LIGO-India received the Indian Government's in-principle approval in February 2016.
- The planned facility—which, like the LIGO observatories in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, will include an L-shaped interferometer with 4-kilometer-long arms—will be built near the city of Aundha in the Indian state of Maharashtra.