India, US Discuss Collaboration on Space Exploration

India, US Discuss Collaboration on Space Exploration
India and the US Thursday discussed the possibilities of collaboration in future Mars exploration projects and other space missions.

The Mars Working Group of the two countries, which met Thursday, sought to identify and implement goals that Nasa and Isro share on Mars exploration, particularly coordinated observations and science analysis between Maven, the Mars Mission of Nasa, and Isro's MoM.

"Our countries established a Mars Working Group to investigate further cooperation for Mars exploration. The third face-to-face meeting concluded in Bengaluru.

"The Mars Working Group seeks to identify and implement goals that Nasa and Isro share on Mars exploration, particularly coordinated observations and science analysis between Maven and MoM and Nasa's other Mars projects," Richard Verma, US Ambassador to India, said.

"We can continue exploring Mars together. Our engineers can jointly develop a space craft to study the surface of Mars. Our scientists can work together, study the and analyse the data and learn even more about the Red planet. Let's go further in our solar system. Our nations could build together space craft to reach other planets in our solar system," he said.

He was delivering a lecture on "US-India Collaboration & Innovation: Exploring the Potential of Satellites for Digital" at the ORF Kalpana Chawla Annual Space Policy Dialogue.

Noting that space cooperation between the two countries has increased by leaps and bounds, Verma said it was not possible to think of such cooperation a few years ago.

After the nuclear tests conducted by India in 1974 and 1998, the US and several Western countries imposed sanctions which badly hit the nuclear and space industry in the country.

Listing out Isro and Nasa cooperation on Mars, Verma said the working group is also looking at future potential joint missions to Mars.

"Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory provided navigation and communication support to MoM, showcasing how our nations can work together on complex channels," Verma said.

He added that the two space agencies have embarked on an ambitious space project Nasa Isro Synthetic Aperture Radar (Nisar) project.

India and the US also discussed ways to enhance cooperation in space, including vital security aspects, at different international fora.

A meeting between Indian officials and a US delegation led by Frank Rose, Assistant Secretary of State, State Department held a high-level meeting Wednesday.

On the NISAR project, Verma said "Nasa is going to take one of the most sophisticated systems and put in on an Indian launch vehicles and put it in space. Our space agencies are developing these joint satellites and planning to launch it from India's impressive GSLV in 2021.

"The satellite would use an advanced radar imaging to provide and unprecedented detailed view of earth. The joint mission would help understand climate change and natural hazards by measuring changes on earth's surface such as changes in ice-sheets, land vegetation," Verma said.

He said India could become a partner in the International Space Station, opening the door for a closer collaboration in space.

"Scientists and students can send experiments to the space stations just as other partner nations in the International Space Station currently do from space science to physics, from biology to bio-technology," he said.

"I am excited that our countries are working together to make GPS and the Indian Regional Navigation System more compatible through the adoption of same signal for civilian use. This creates the potential for us to harness navigation data for more benefits to our society," he said.

It is to be noted that in September 2015, for the first time, India launched four satellites of US companies.


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