NASA chief says US and India will increase cooperation in space; will train Indian astronauts for ISS

NASA chief says US and India will increase cooperation in space; will train Indian astronauts for ISS

NASA chief Bill Nelson.

NASA chief Bill Nelson. | Photo Credit: AP

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has said the US space agency will expand cooperation with India and this will include a “joint effort” on the International Space Station with an Indian astronaut.

Mr Nelson’s remarks came after a fact sheet was issued by the US and India following the ICET talks between US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on June 17, saying they are working towards starting advanced training for ISRO astronauts in the US.

“Building on my visit to India last year, NASA is advancing US and Indian initiatives on critical and emerging technologies for the benefit of humanity. Together we are expanding our countries' cooperation in space, including a joint effort on the International Space Station with an ISRO astronaut,” Mr. Nelson wrote on X on June 19.

“Although specific details about the mission are still being worked out, these efforts will help future human spaceflight and improve life on Earth,” Mr. Nelson said.

In New Delhi, on June 17, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Doval said they had finalised a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation to deepen interoperability in space and were working towards launching advanced training for ISRO astronauts at the NASA Johnson Space Center.

The two leaders exchanged views on securing a carrier for the first-ever joint attempt between NASA and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) astronauts to the International Space Station, which will be a significant milestone in India-US space partnership and space exploration.

They also mentioned that the space agencies of the two countries are preparing for the launch of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, a jointly developed satellite that will map the Earth's surface comprehensively twice every 12 days as part of efforts to jointly tackle climate change and other global challenges.

The meeting between Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Doval also concluded that India and the US should continue to lead in the development of critical technologies as part of the larger strategic interest.

Mr Doval and his counterpart also unveiled several transformational initiatives to deepen India-US cooperation in artificial intelligence, semiconductors, critical minerals, advanced telecommunications and defence.

iCET was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in May 2022 to build greater collaboration between India and the US in areas of critical technologies.

Mr. Sullivan visited Delhi from June 17 to 18, the first visit to India by a senior Biden administration official after the Modi government came to power for its third term.

The US National Security Advisor was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising senior US government officials and industry leaders.

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