S&T Initiatives Prope: NASA and ISRO Forge Alliance: Joint Endeavor in Building a Collaborative Space Stationlling the Strategic Partnership between India and the US

By siliconindia   |   Thursday, 07 December 2023, 12:17 IST
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: NASA and ISRO Forge Alliance: Joint Endeavor in Building a Collaborative Space Station

NASA Chief Bill Nelson's visit to India highlighted substantial potential for collaboration in space exploration, emphasizing mutual openness to joint projects in space stations and lunar exploration for advancing scientific research.

In a recent visit to India, NASA’s chief, Bill Nelson, engaged in a discussion about potential collaboration between the two countries in space exploration. Addressing queries about the prospect of a joint space mission, Nelson expressed NASA’s openness to partnering with India, particularly in constructing its space station.

A significant element of the conversation included Nelson revealing the ongoing talks between the United States and India about the potential inclusion of an Indian astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) by the first quarter of 2024. The selection of astronauts for this mission would be determined by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), emphasizing that NASA would not be involved in the selection process.

Responding to inquiries about a potential collaboration, Nelson assured that NASA would readily cooperate with India if the country expressed interest in such endeavors. He underscored that the decision to collaborate would ultimately rest with India.

Notably, India has set ambitious goals in space exploration, envisioning the development of a commercial space station by 2040. This timeline aligns with Nelson's acknowledgment that the United States anticipates having its space station by then.

Indian Prime Minister Modi has recently conveyed optimism about ISRO working towards establishing an Indian Space Station by 2035 and aiming to land an Indian astronaut on the moon by 2040.

During discussions between India's Minister of State for Science and Technology, Shri Jitendra Singh, and NASA's Nelson, the focus shifted to India's lunar exploration plans. Nelson highlighted that India would determine the goals and achievements on the moon's surface, reaffirming NASA's commitment to researching and studying all pertinent information essential to India. Introducing another dimension of collaboration, Nelson emphasized the upcoming launch of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) observatory, scheduled for the first quarter of 2024. NISAR’s data, compiled from 25 spacecraft, would provide a comprehensive understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, weather, and climate, aiding scientists in their research endeavors. 

The visit and discussions between NASA’s chief and Indian officials underscored the potential for significant collaboration between the US and India in space exploration. The mutual openness to cooperation, particularly in space station projects and lunar exploration projects, reflects a shared vision for advancing scientific research and exploration beyond Earth’s boundaries.