SDSC: Satish Dhawan Space Centre

About SDSC

Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) or Sriharikota Range (SHAR) is a rocket launch centre operated by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is located in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Sriharikota Range was renamed in 2002 after ISRO's former chairman Satish Dhawan.

SDSC's current director is Arumugam Rajarajan. He took over from S. Pandian in July 2019.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC)


Key Description of SDSC:

Formed: 1 October 1971; 48 years ago

Jurisdiction: Government of India

Headquarters: Sriharikota, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India

Employees: Unknown

Annual Budget: See the budget of ISRO

Agency Executive: A.Rajarajan, Director

Parent Agency: ISRO

Phone: 086232 25050

Official Website:


History of SDSC:

Sriharikota island was chosen in 1969 for a satellite launching station. The centre became operational in 1971 when an RH-125 sounding rocket was launched.

The first attempted launch of an orbital satellite, Rohini 1A aboard a Satellite's Launch Vehicle, took place on 10 August 1979, but due to a failure in thrust vectoring of the rocket's second stage, the satellite's orbit decayed on 19 August 1979.

SHAR was named as 'Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR' (SDSC), on 5 September 2002, in memory of Satish Dhawan, former Chairman of the ISRO.

The SHAR facility now consists of two launch pads, with the second built in 2005. The second launch pad was used for launches beginning in 2005 and is a universal launch pad, accommodating all of the launch vehicles used by ISRO.

The two launch pads will allow multiple launches in a single year, which was not possible earlier. India's lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1 launched from the centre at 6:22 AM IST on 22 October 2008.

India's first Mars orbiter Mangalyaan was launched from the centre on 5 November 2013, which was successfully placed into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014.

Initially under Indian Human Spaceflight Programme existing launch facilities will be augmented to meet the target of launching a crewed spacecraft called Gaganyaan.


Location of SDSC:

Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) is located in Sriharikota, a spindle-shaped barrier island on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh. Features like a good launch azimuth corridor for various missions, nearness to the equator (benefiting eastward launches), and large uninhabited area for a safety zone make it an ideal spaceport.

SHAR covers a total area of about 145 km2 (56 sq mi) with a coastal length of 27 km (17 mi). Prior to its acquisition for ISRO by the Indian Government, it was a firewood plantation of Eucalyptus and Casuarina trees.

This island is affected by both south-westerly and north-easterly monsoons, but heavy rains come only in October and November. Thus many clear days are available for out-door static tests and launching.

SHAR is linked to Sullurupeta by a road across Pulicat Lake. Sullurupeta has connectivity with other parts of India by Indian Railways and is on a National Highway 5 (India) that connects it to Chennai (about 83 km (52 mi) south) and Kolkata.


Launch History of SDSC:

Originally known as the Sriharikota Range (SHAR) and later named after Satish Dhawan. It is India's primary orbital launch site to this day.

First flight-test of 'Rohini-125', a small sounding rocket which took place on 9 October 1971 was the first ever rocket launch from SHAR.

Since then technical, logistic and administrative infrastructure have been enhanced. Together with the northerly Balasore Rocket Launching Station, the facilities are operated under the ISRO Range Complex (IREX) headquartered at SHAR.

Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV): The range became operational when three Rohini 125 sounding rockets were launched on 9 and 10 October 1971.

Previously, India used Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), at Thiruvananthapuram, on the south-western coast of India, to launch sounding rockets.

The first test launch of the complete SLV-3 rocket occurred in August 1979 but it was only partially successful following a malfunction in the second-stage guidance system.

SHAR facilities worked satisfactorily during the SLV-3 preparation and launch. On 18 July 1980 the SLV-3 successfully launched India's third satellite. Out of the four SLV launches from SHAR, two were successful.

Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV): The ASLV orbital launcher was integrated vertically, beginning with motor and subassembly preparations in the Vehicle Integration Building (VIB) and completed on the pad within the 40 m tall Mobile Service Structure.

The first ASLV launch from SHAR took place in 1987 and resulted in a failure. Eventually, out the four ASLV launches from 1987–94, only one was successful.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV): The PSLV launch complex was commissioned during 1990. It has a 3,000 tonne, 76.5 m high Mobile Service Tower (MST) which provides the SP-3 payload clean room.

The solid propellant motors for the PSLV are processed by SHAR, which also carries out launch operations. The first launch of the PSLV took place on 20 September 1993.


Launch Pads of SDSC:

SLV Launch Pad: This launch pad was used by the Satellite Launch Vehicle and Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle is located at the southern tip of the current launch site. It has been decommissioned. Initially it was built for launching SLV-3 but was later augmented to be used as an ASLV launch complex.

First Launch Pad (FLP): The modern First Launch Pad was built in the early 1990s for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. It has also been used by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The First Launch Pad is undergoing major expansion with PIF (PSLV Integration Facilities) project worth 475 crores. Once complete, the First Launch Pad is expected to cater to around 15 launches per year.

Second Launch Pad (SLP): Second Launch Complex became operational in 2005 and unlike First Launch Pad operates on philosophy of Integrate Transfer & Launch.

SLP is configured as a universal launch pad capable of accommodating PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk III launch vehicles of ISRO.

In addition to the Vehicle Assembly building (VAB), a Solid Stage Assembly Building (SSAB) was constructed for assembly of S200 strapons of GSLV Mk III.

Augmented SSAB can now assemble first stages of PSLV and GSLV with VAB holding another rocket in parallel. A new Second Vehicle Assembly Building (SVAB) in the same complex is being constructed with a budgetary grant of 630 crores and is expected to be ready in mid 2018.

Third Launch Pad (TLP): A Third Launch Pad is planned at a cost of Rs 6 billion and would be capable of supporting crewed missions as well.