NASA And India Forge Alliance For India’s First Astronaut Station And Joint Space Initiatives

This would be the first time in four decades that an Indian would travel to space after Rakesh Sharma’s 1984 travel aboard the Soviet-made Soyuz T-11 shuttle.

Bill Nelson, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), announced that the U.S. is ready to collaborate with India to build the country’s first astro station. Nelson, who is on a multi-city visit to India, to magnify India-U.S. cooperation, stated that the astronaut will be chosen by ISRO and trained by NASA by the end of 2024.

This would be the first time in four decades that an Indian would travel to space after Rakesh Sharma’s 1984 travel aboard the Soviet-made Soyuz T-11 shuttle.

Discussions About Space Mission

Nelson and Union Minister Jitendra Singh deliberated on enhancing collaboration in the field of astrionics between their respective countries. Nelson urged Jitendra Singh to expedite efforts about India’s inaugural astronaut mission aboard a NASA rocket destined for the International Orbital Station.

The U.S. showed a major delegacy towards the Science and Technology Minister of India, Jitendra Singh, congratulating him for the successful landing of Chandrayan-3. Nelson expressed that India is a great partner for the U.S. and has the potential to be a significant future collaborator in astronautical activities. He mentioned that the U.S. plans to launch several private landers on the south pole of the Moon the following year. Additionally, he extended congratulations for the achievement of India being the first to land there.

Nelson additionally expressed the U.S. readiness to collaborate with India in constructing the space station, provided India expresses a willingness to participate in such a venture. Singh stated that ISRO is ranging over the capability to utilise NASA’s HVIT (Hypervelocity Impact Test) velocity for testing the Gaganyaan Module Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) protection shields.

NASA and ISRO are set to jointly launch the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) within the next three months in the coming year. This satellite ranks among the most expensive globally, with a price tag of approximately $1 million. It is designed to observe and analyze the Earth’s surface and climate, providing crucial data by measuring alterations in land or water surfaces and tracking movements in ice masses. The satellite aims to generate a comprehensive three-dimensional model, offering valuable insights into the future of our planet.

Nelson further revealed that NASA is determining opportunities in private astronaut missions for Indian astronauts and will meet cosmos sector leaders in Mumbai. Nelson remarked that 32 nations had signed the accord for the peaceful use of space. He highlighted that the accord would play a role in ensuring the safety of space assets, enabling mutual assistance, promoting peaceful purposes, respecting each other’s activities in space, and discouraging interference.

Nelson also summoned back upon seeing India for the first time from space. The senator flew to space aboard the Columbia spacecraft shuttle almost four decades ago. Nelson shared in an interview with the Times of India that the first time he saw India from space was in January 1986. He mentioned observing Sri Lanka first and then, as he directed his gaze upward, seeing the entirety of India. He further noted the captivating view of the Himalayas at the top of the country, which he said, looked like heaven.