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Satish Dhawan Space Centre | SHAR ISRO Sriharikota

The Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) is the launch centre for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is located in Sriharikota, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India, 80 km (50 mi) north of Chennai in South India. It was originally called Sriharikota High Altitude Range (SHAR), and was sometime known as Sriharikota Launching Range. The centre was renamed to its present name in 2002 after the death of ISRO’s former chairman Satish Dhawan. The space centre has kept the title SHAR during these name changes.


The centre became operational 1971 when an RH-125 sounding rocket was launched. The first attempted launch of an orbital satellite, Rohini 1A aboard a Satellite Launch Vehicle, took place 10 Aug 1979, but due to a failure in thrust vectoring of the rocket’s second stage, the satellite’s orbit decayed 19 Aug 1979.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre

The SHAR facility now consists of two launch pads, with the second built recently. 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.
SHAR will be the main base for the Indian human spaceflight program. A new third launchpad will built specifically to meet the target of launching a manned space mission by 2015.


Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, located at Sriharikota, a spindle shaped island on the East Coast of Andhra Pradesh, adjacent to Sricity, a developing satellite city in the epicentre of Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu, about 70 km (43 mi) north of Chennai, is the spaceport of India. This island was chosen in 1969 for setting up of a satellite launching station. Features like a good launch azimuth corridor for various missions, advantage of earth’s rotation for eastward launchings, nearness to the equator, and large uninhabited area for the safety zone — all make Sriharikota Range, popularly known as ‘SHAR’, an ideal spaceport. Off naidupet a big town in Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh on the national highway connecting Chennai and Kolkata — a 20-minute drive towards the east on the road laid across the Pulicat Lake takes one to Sriharikota. SHAR was named as ‘Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR’ (SDSC), on 5 September 2002, in memory of Prof Satish Dhawan, former Chairman of the ISRO.

SHAR covers a total area of about 145 km (56 sq mi) with a coastal length of 27 km (17 mi). Prior to its acquisition for ISRO by the Indian Government, its 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 launchings

Launch History:

Originally known as the Sriharikota Range (SHAR) and later named after Satish Dhawan, it is India’s primary orbital launch site to this day. The first flight-test of ‘Rohini-125’, a small sounding rocket which took place on October 9, 1971 was the first ever spaceflight 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), on the west 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. Since then out of 15 launches, PSLV has a recorded 14 successes. PSLV is launched both from the first and the second launch pad.


The Centre has two operational orbital launch pads. SHAR is ISRO’s satellite launching base and additionally provides launch facilities for the full range of Rohini sounding rockets. The Vehicle Assembly, Static Test and Evaluation Complex (VAST, previously STEX) and the Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB) are located at SHAR for casting and testing solid motors. The site also has a Telemetry Tracking & Control centre, the Management Service Group and Sriharikota Common Facilities. The PSLV launch complex was commissioned in 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 space booster plant(SPROB) processes large size propellant grains for the satellite launch vehicles. The Static Test & Evaluation Complex (STEX) tests and qualifies different types of solid motor for launch vehicles. The closed center at SHAR houses computers and data processing, closed circuit television, real-time tracking systems and meteorological observation equipment. It is linked to three radars located at Sriharikota and the five stations of ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking & Command Network (ISTRAC).

The propellant production plant produces composite solid propellant for rocket motors of ISRO using ammonium perchlorate (oxidiser), fine aluminium powder (fuel) and hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (binder). The solid motors processed here include those for the first stage booster motor of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) — a five segmented motor of 2.8 m diameter and 22 m length, weighing 160 tons with a thrust level of 450 tons.

Rocket motors and their subsystems have to be rigorously tested and evaluated on ground before they are declared flight worthy. The facilities at SDSC SHAR are used for testing solid rocket motors, both at ambient conditions and simulated high altitude conditions. Besides these, there are facilities for conducting Vibration, Shock, Constant Acceleration and Thermal/humidity tests.

SDSC SHAR has infrastructure for launching satellites into low earth orbit, polar orbit and geo-stationary transfer orbit. The launch complexes provide support for vehicle assembly, fuelling, checkout and launch operations. The Centre also has facilities for launching sounding rockets for atmospheric studies. The mobile service tower, launch pad, preparation facilities for different launch stages & spacecraft, storage, transfer and servicing facilities for liquid propellants, etc., are the principal parts of the PSLV/GSLV launch complex.

For supporting the GSLV Mk III programme additional facilities are being set up at SDSC. A new plant is being set up to process heavier class boosters with 200 tonnes of Solid propellant. The static test complex is being augmented for qualifying the S-200 booster. Other new facilities include a Solid Stage Assembly Building, Satellite Preparation and Filling Facility and Hardware Storage buildings. The existing liquid propellant and cryogenic propellant storage and filling systems, Propellant Servicing Facilities will also be augmented. The range instrumentation system will be enhanced further.


Old Launch Pad (Launch Pad-1)
Main article: Satish Dhawan Space Centre First Launch Pad
This was the first launch pad built at SHAR during the late 1960s. It became operational in 1971 and since then numerous launches have taken place. It is operational even today and is used for PSLV launches.

Second Launch Pad (SLP)

Main article: Satish Dhawan Space Centre Second Launch Pad
The SLP at SHAR is a state-of-the-art launch complex. SLP is configured as a universal launch pad capable of accommodating all the launch vehicles of ISRO including the advanced launch vehicles to be built in the next decade and beyond. It became operational in 2005.

Third Launch Pad:

The Third Launch Pad is specifically being built for manned missions at a cost of Rs 600 crores. It is scheduled to be completed by 2012 and the first test flight would take place in 2013.

All Satellites Launched from SHAR:

SatelliteLaunch DateLaunch VehicleType of Satellite
 PSLV-XL28 April 2016C33 
PSLV-XL10 March 2016C32 
PSLV-XL20 January 2016C31 
PSLV-CA16 December 2015C29 
PSLV-XL28 September 2015C30 
GSLV Mk II27 August 2015D6 
PSLV-XL10 July 2015C28 
PSLV-XL28 March 2015C27 
GSLV Mk III18 December 2014LVM3-X 
PSLV-XL16 October 2014C26 
PSLV-CA30 June 2014C23 
IRNSS-1B04.04.2014PSLV-C24Navigation Satellite
GSAT-1405.01.2014GSLV-D5Geo-Stationary Satellite
Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft05.11.2013PSLV-C25Space Mission
GSAT-730.08.2013Ariane-5VA-215Geo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-3D26.07.2013Ariane-5VA-214Geo-Stationary/Meteorological Satellite
IRNSS-1A01.07.2013PSLV-C22Navigation Satellite
SARAL25.02.2013PSLV-C20Earth Observation Satellite
GSAT-1029.09.2012Ariane-5VA-209Geo-Stationary Satellite
RISAT-126.04.2012PSLV-C19Earth Observation Satellite
Jugnu12.10.2011PSLV-C18Experimental / Small Satellite
SRMSat12.10.2011PSLV-C18Experimental / Small Satellite
Megha-Tropiques12.10.2011PSLV-C18Earth Observation Satellite
GSAT-1215.07.2011PSLV-C17Geo-Stationary Satellite
GSAT-821.05.2011Ariane-5VA-202Geo-Stationary Satellite
RESOURCESAT-220.04.2011PSLV-C16Earth Observation Satellite
YOUTHSAT20.04.2011PSLV-C16Experimental / Small Satellite
GSAT-5P25.12.2010GSLV-F06Geo-Stationary Satellite
STUDSAT12.07.2010PSLV-C15Experimental / Small Satellite
CARTOSAT-2B12.07.2010PSLV-C15Earth Observation Satellite
GSAT-415.04.2010GSLV-D3Geo-Stationary Satellite
Oceansat-223.09.2009PSLV-C14Earth Observation Satellite
ANUSAT20.04.2009PSLV-C12Experimental / Small Satellite
RISAT-220.04.2009PSLV-C12Earth Observation Satellite
Chandrayaan-122.10.2008PSLV-C11Space Mission
CARTOSAT – 2A28.04.2008PSLV-C9Earth Observation Satellite
IMS-128.04.2008PSLV-C9Earth Observation Satellite
INSAT-4B12.03.2007Ariane-5ECAGeo-Stationary Satellite
CARTOSAT – 210.01.2007PSLV-C7Earth Observation Satellite
SRE – 110.01.2007PSLV-C7Experimental / Small Satellite
INSAT-4CR02.09.2007GSLV-F04Geo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-4C10.07.2006GSLV-F02Geo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-4A22.12.2005Ariane-5GSGeo-Stationary Satellite
HAMSAT05.05.2005PSLV-C6Experimental / Small Satellite
CARTOSAT-105.05.2005PSLV-C6Earth Observation Satellite
EDUSAT (GSAT-3)20.09.2004GSLV-F01Geo-Stationary Satellite
Resourcesat-1(IRS-P6)17.10.2003PSLV-C5Earth Observation Satellite
INSAT-3A10.04.2003Ariane-5GGeo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-3E28.09.2003Ariane-5GGeo-Stationary Satellite
GSAT-208.05.2003GSLV-D2Geo-Stationary Satellite
KALPANA-1(METSAT)12.09.2002PSLV-C4Geo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-3C24.01.2002Ariane-42L H10-3Geo-Stationary Satellite
Technology Experiment Satellite (TES)22.10.2001PSLV-C3Earth Observation Satellite
GSAT-118.04.2001GSLV-D1Geo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-3B22.03.2000Ariane-5GGeo-Stationary Satellite
Oceansat(IRS-P4)26.05.1999PSLV-C2Earth Observation Satellite
INSAT-2E03.04.1999Ariane-42P H10-3Geo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-2DTJanuary 1998Ariane-44L H10Geo-Stationary Satellite
IRS-1D29.09.1997PSLV-C1Earth Observation Satellite
INSAT-2D04.06.1997Ariane-44L H10-3Geo-Stationary Satellite
IRS-P321.03.1996PSLV-D3Earth Observation Satellite
IRS-1C28.12.1995MolniyaEarth Observation Satellite
INSAT-2C07.12.1995Ariane-44L H10-3Geo-Stationary Satellite
IRS-P215.10.1994PSLV-D2Earth Observation Satellite
Stretched Rohini Satellite Series (SROSS-C2)04.05.1994ASLVSpace Mission
IRS-1E20.09.1993PSLV-D1Earth Observation Satellite
INSAT-2B23.07.1993Ariane-44L H10+Geo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-2A10.07.1992Ariane-44L H10Geo-Stationary Satellite
Stretched Rohini Satellite Series (SROSS-C)20.05.1992ASLVSpace Mission
IRS-1B29.08.1991VostokEarth Observation Satellite
INSAT-1D12.06.1990Delta 4925Geo-Stationary Satellite
INSAT-1C21.07.1988Ariane-3Geo-Stationary Satellite
Stretched Rohini Satellite Series(SROSS-2)13.07.1988ASLVEarth Observation Satellite
IRS-1A17.03.1988VostokEarth Observation Satellite
Stretched Rohini Satellite Series(SROSS-1)24.03.1987ASLVSpace Mission
INSAT-1B30.08.1983Shuttle [PAM-D]Geo-Stationary Satellite
Rohini (RS-D2)17.04.1983SLV-3Earth Observation Satellite
INSAT-1A10.04.1982Delta 3910 PAM-DGeo-Stationary Satellite
Bhaskara-II20.11.1981C-1 IntercosmosEarth Observation Satellite
Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment (APPLE)19.06.1981Ariane-1(V-3)Geo-Stationary Satellite
Rohini (RS-D1)31.05.1981SLV-3Earth Observation Satellite
Rohini (RS-1)18.07.1980SLV-3Experimental / Small Satellite
Rohini Technology Payload (RTP)10.08.1979SLV-3Experimental / Small Satellite
Bhaskara-I07.06.1979C-1 IntercosmosEarth Observation Satellite
Aryabhata19.04.1975C-1 IntercosmosExperimental / Small Satellite

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