Prime minister Manmohan Singh arrived at Sriharikota, near here, on Saturday evening to witness the launch of Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV-C21 on Sunday morning.
This is Singh’s third visit to SHAR and second as prime minister. His first visit in the 80s was as a member of the Space Commission.
Governor ESL Nara-simhan, chief minister N.Kiran Kumar Reddy, ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan, district in-charge minister Pithani Satyanarayana, Nellore City MLA M Sreedhar Krishna Reddy, district collector B.Sridhar were among those who received him.
After arrival by a special helicopter from Chennai around 5.35 pm, Singh inspected the First Launching Pad (FLP) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre from where the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C21, ISRO’s 100th mission, will be launched into the orbit at 9.51 am on Sunday. He also visited the Second Launching Pad( SLP) and the GSLV Mark-3 solid stage assembly building. Later, he interacted with the ISRO chief and other scientists at Bhaskara Guest House. Future space missions, including Chandrayaan-2, are believed to have been discussed by them. ISRO is likely to launch the 3.40-tonne communication satellite, GSAT-10, between September 21 and 23 by European consortium’s Ariane-5 rocket from Kourou in French Guiana. The entire Sriharikota area has come under a thick security blanket as the prime minister and renowned space scientists arrived at SHAR to watch ISRO’s 100th launch.
Five helipads were prepared, three for the prime minister and two for the governor and the chief minister. According to superintendent of police BV Ramanakumar seven ASPs, 25 DSPs, 60 CIs, 140 SIs, 100 ASIs, 1,000 constables, 750 CISF personnel have been deployed to provide full-scale security for two days. Round-the-clock vigil is being kept along the 165-km-long coast on the Bay of Bengal and the Pulicat Lake where thousands of marine cops have been deployed.