NASA to provide advanced training to Indian astronauts for joint mission to International Space Station

US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti
Image Source : ERIC GARCETTI (X) US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti

Bengaluru: The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is set to provide advanced training to Indian astronauts soon for a joint mission to the International Space Station, according to US envoy to India Eric Garcetti. The planned space mission with Indian and American astronauts is expected by this year or shortly afterwards, Garcetti mentioned.

Garcetti made these remarks while speaking at the “US-India Commercial Space Conference: Unlocking Opportunities for US & Indian Space Startups,” hosted by the US-India Business Council (USIBC) and the US Commercial Service (USCS) in Bengaluru on Friday. “And soon we will launch the NISAR satellite from ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Center to monitor all resources, including ecosystems, the Earth’s surface, natural hazards, sea level rise, and the cryosphere,” he said, according to a USIBC press statement issued here.

NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are planning to conduct a joint Earth-observing mission NISAR. A launch is expected that will take place from Satish Dhawan Space Centre which is located at Sriharikota and will be using the ISRO Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-II. The mission will reportedly last for three years, with the main objective to survey land and ice-covered regions of the earth every 12 days.

“You see whether it’s the pursuit of peace and the peaceful use of space, things like the Artemis Accord, we are hand in hand, arm in arm. When it comes to prosperity and jobs, which is a big part of this conference today, it can be produced by startups in this sector, good-paying, high-tech jobs for Indians and for Americans. Space is right there,” Garcetti said.

India-US collaboration in space

Apart from Garcetti, ISRO chairman Dr S Somanath and representatives from NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Government of India were present at the event along with prominent leaders from the commercial space industry, industry stakeholders, venture capitalists, and market analysts.

“I must salute the visionary leadership that we have in both nations in India and the US for engaging in such an accord which looks at the moon as a sustainable place for all of us to come and work together,” Somnath said in his remarks. “The connection between the Indian partners and also the US partners in critical technologies and specifically in the space sector is really becoming stronger.”

USIBC president Atul Keshap expressed optimism about the prospects of India-US collaboration in space and described it as a new chapter of the relationship between the two countries. USIBC managing director Alexander Slater said the US-India Commercial Space Conference “underscores the importance of fostering strategic partnerships to drive innovation and propel the space industry forward.”

India-US officials hold talks

Meanwhile, senior defence officials from India and the US have met at the second annual US-India Advanced Domains Defence Dialogue (AD3) in Washington to discuss opportunities to strengthen space cooperation and identify potential areas for collaboration with the American industry.

The American team was led by Vipin Narang, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defence for Space Policy, and the visiting Indian delegation was led by Vishwesh Negi, India’s Joint Secretary for International Cooperation. They agreed to advance AD3 through regular working group discussions.

(with inputs from PTI)

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