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Vikram Sarabhai Space Center

  • Location
    Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
  • Type
    Nuclear-Research and Development
  • Facility Status

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In 1972, the Indian government reorganized India’s space program under the newly created Department of Space. The government consolidated the Space Science & Technology Center, Rocket Propellant Plant, Rocket Fabrication Facility, Propellant Fuel Complex, and the Sriharikota High Altitude Range into an umbrella organization, with its headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerela. This consolidated facility was named the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), after the founding father of India’s space program, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.

The VSSC is ISRO’s “lead center for rocket and [satellite] launch vehicle projects.” The Center’s activities cover avionics, aeronautics, materials, mechanical engineering, solid-propulsion, composites, propellants, polymers, chemicals, systems reliability, and computer and information technology. The VSSC has played a leading role in developing ISRO’s sounding rockets and family of satellite launch vehicles (SLV-3, ASLV, PSLV, and GSLV). It has also helped develop India’s Agni I and II ballistic missiles and is most likely involved in the rumored Surya ballistic missile program.


Ballistic missile
A delivery vehicle powered by a liquid or solid fueled rocket that primarily travels in a ballistic (free-fall) trajectory.  The flight of a ballistic missile includes three phases: 1) boost phase, where the rocket generates thrust to launch the missile into flight; 2) midcourse phase, where the missile coasts in an arc under the influence of gravity; and 3) terminal phase, in which the missile descends towards its target.  Ballistic missiles can be characterized by three key parameters - range, payload, and Circular Error Probable (CEP), or targeting precision.  Ballistic missiles are primarily intended for use against ground targets.


[1] Gopal Raj, “SLV-3: India’s First Launch Vehicle,” Reach for the Stars: The Evolution of India’s Rocket Programme (New Delhi: Viking/Penguin Books India, 2000), pp. 63, 65-66.
[2] “Vikram Sarabhai Space Center,” Indian Space Research Organization, www.isro.org.
[3] “VSSC-Vikram Sarabhai Space Center,” Bharat Rakshak, www.bharat-rakshak.com.


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