Satish Dhawan Space center in Sriharikota is one of the 2 rocket launch centers in India. This state of the art facility is maintained by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and is the main base for India’s space flight programs. The space station is open to visitors but the facility tour is limited to assembly buildings, launch pads, launch pedestals, mission control and launch control centers (MCC and LCC) and the space museum. This is worth the visit to admire and appreciate the efforts made by India in the space research. You can visit Sriharikota to watch a rocket launch live too, but the facilities at SHAR are closed for visitors at that time due to security reasons. If you would like to watch a launch, you can read my blog on How to watch a rocket launch in Sriharikota, India. However, the 2 visits can not be combined together. You can get permission to visit SHAR, ISRO only under 2 conditions:
- If you belong to a school/ college; you can go for a field trip with your teachers.
- If you know someone working in SHAR/ ISRO, they can take you along with visitor pass.
In both the cases, someone from SHAR will be assigned to give you a tour of the facility. Under any circumstances, one is not allowed to visit SHAR unaccompanied. The facility is well guarded by CISF and there are more than 12 watch towers for security reasons. If you are want to visit SHAR through your school or college, here is the procedure: 1. Request your principal to send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning the school would want to go for a trip to SHAR, ISRO. If you are an individual, you can get a permission letter from the principal and attach it along with your mail. A sample of both letters is attached here: Permission letter to visit SHAR, Satish Dhawan Space Museum, Sriharikota- School Trip Permission letter to visit SHAR, Satish Dhawan Space Museum, Sriharikota- Individual Student The mail would be in the lines of:
Head, Public Outreach and Space Museum,
Satish Dhawan Space Center, SHAR
Sriharikota – 524124
Subject: Permission to visit Space Museum and facilities at SHAR
<School/ College Name> located at <Address, City> would like to visit Space Museum and the other facilities at Satish Dhawan Space Center for an educational tour. I believe that visiting a facility like SHAR would inspire them in science and the experience will stay with them through their life.
We would like to visit on <Date>. If this date is not feasible, please suggest an alternate date in the same week.
Your cooperation in this regard is solicited.
2. You will get a reply from SHAR detailing the date, time of reporting and other details for the visit. You will be required to submit details of every person visiting SHAR (including bus crew, teachers). Details should include name, age, father’s name, address and contact no. Visit to Space Museum SHAR, Sriharikota – Guidelines Some of the main points in this are:
- Only Indian nationals are allowed inside ISRO premises. So if the school/ college has international students, please ensure you do not take them along.
- Photography is strictly prohibited: For obvious security reasons, camera, camcorders, recorders, phones etc are not allowed inside the SHAR premises. You can deposit them at the main gate with the security and get a acknowledgment token.
- You will need to have your own vehicle. The facility is huge and one needs a vehicle to go around. You will need to keep one seat for the tour guide who will accompany you.
- SHAR being in the forest area has a threat of honeybees. Do not plan to wear bright/highly colorful dresses, deodorants /Body Sprays/perfumes etc.
3. Submit the required details through email or FAX. 4. On the date of your visit, reach 30 min before your scheduled time because everyone will need to get an entry permit. Also, you will have to arrange your own food/ snacks depending on the time of your visit. You can go to Sullurupeta after the visit for lunch/ dinner. The tour usually lasts for 3 hours. Though the Sullurpeta town does not have many touristy activities, you can plan your visit around Jan/ Feb when tourism department hosts a Flamingo Festival in the Pulicat lake which surrounds the facility. Viewing towers are constructed and boating is arranged for visitors to view the migratory birds who flock in thousands during this time. If you have been to Space Research Center and would like to share your experience, do post a comment and let us know 🙂