Mecon, HEC over the moon - How PSU giants joined hands to manufacture Rs 20cr launch pad

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By M. GANGULY in Ranchi
  • Published 22.10.08

Ranchi, Oct. 22: For engineers at Mecon and HEC, 0622 hours this morning was a proud moment — for Chandrayaan-1 lifted off into space from a launch pad built by them.

From then on it was a day of jubilation for the engineers who were glued to television sets watching the proceedings live as PSLV carrying the lunar orbiter blasted off into space where it is scheduled to find its moorings and orbit the moon by November 8.

The construction of the Rs 20 crore, 4-metre high mobile launch pad — which proudly supported India’s first moon mission — at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota was executed by Mecon on a total turnkey basis that included design and detailed engineering of the equipment that was primarily manufactured by HEC.

The platform, manufactured by HEC, weighs around 800 tonne and comprises 11 big sections that include two support rings designed to serve as the resting place for the lunar orbiter.

Sources at HEC said in addition to the platform, the engineering major also manufactured the 10-tonne tower crane, placed atop the umbilical tower that holds the PSLV before being blasted into space.

“Mecon has built the first-of-its-kind launch pad, 82.5-metre long with four lighting conductors and several unique features,” said Rana Chakravarty, chief of corporate communications.

“While we completed the project on a turnkey basis, HEC manufactured several key equipmentsused,” he added. HEC built several equipments, including folding and vertically repositionable platforms, cranes and sliding gates.

On several occasions earlier, Mecon helped design and build launch pads for Isro. In 2005, it bagged a Rs 400-crore contract from Isro to build a second launch pad at Sriharikota, about 100km north of Chennai on the coast off Bay of Bengal. The contract eventually helped Mecon compensate for losses it was incurring for several years.