NASA and ISRO, the space agencies of the United States and India, are planning to collaborate on building India’s own space station by 2035. This ambitious project will be a milestone in the history of space exploration and cooperation between the two countries. In this article, we will explore the details of this mega plan and its benefits for both nations.
NASA Ready to Collaborate with ISRO on Space Station Project
According to recent reports, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has expressed his interest in collaborating with ISRO on India’s space station project. He said that he would like to visit India and meet with ISRO Chairman K. Sivan to discuss the details of the partnership.
Nelson is Expected to Visit Bengaluru’s NISAR Spacecraft Facilities
One of the main reasons for Nelson’s visit to India is to see the progress of the NISAR satellite, which is a joint mission between NASA and ISRO to map Earth’s surface using advanced radar technology. The NISAR spacecraft is being assembled in Bengaluru, where the two agencies have combined their radar systems into a single payload. Nelson said that he is looking forward to seeing the NISAR spacecraft and congratulating the engineers and scientists involved in the project.
Potential Plans to Send Indian Astronaut to International Space Station in 2024
Another topic of discussion between Nelson and Sivan will be the possibility of sending an Indian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024. India is preparing to launch its first human spaceflight mission, called Gaganyaan, in 2023, which will send three astronauts to low Earth orbit for seven days. Nelson said that he would like to invite one of the Indian astronauts to join the crew of the ISS in 2024, as part of the Artemis Accords, which is a framework for international cooperation on civil space exploration.
Collaboration on the NISAR Satellite Launch
The NISAR satellite, which is expected to launch in 2024, will provide unprecedented data on Earth’s natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, glaciers, forests, wetlands, and more. The satellite will use two different radar frequencies, L-band and S-band, to measure changes in Earth’s surface in extremely fine detail. The L-band radar is provided by NASA, while the S-band radar is provided by ISRO. The satellite will also have a high-rate communication subsystem, GPS receivers, a solid-state recorder, a payload data subsystem from NASA, and a spacecraft bus, a launch vehicle, and associated launch services and satellite mission operations from ISRO.
India’s Ambitious Goals in Space Exploration
India has been making remarkable strides in space exploration in recent years, with missions such as Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2, Mangalyaan, and Astrosat. India is also planning to launch several ambitious missions in the near future, such as Chandrayaan-3, Aditya-L1, Shukrayaan-1, and Gaganyaan.
PM Modi’s Call to Build an Indian Space Station by 2035
In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will build its own space station by 2035, as part of the Gaganyaan program. He said that the space station will be a platform for scientific experiments and innovations, and will also inspire the youth of the country to pursue careers in science and technology. The space station will be designed to accommodate three to six astronauts for 15 to 20 days at a time and will have a mass of 20 to 25 tonnes.
Plans to Send Astronauts to the Moon by 2040
India is also aiming to send astronauts to the moon by 2040, as part of its lunar exploration program. ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said that India will launch a manned mission to the moon after completing the Gaganyaan mission and the Chandrayaan-3 mission, which is a follow-up to the Chandrayaan-2 mission that attempted to land a rover on the lunar south pole in 2019. Sivan said that India will use its own rocket, the GSLV Mk III, and its own lander and rover, to achieve this feat.
Benefits of Collaboration between NASA and ISRO
The collaboration between NASA and ISRO on the space station project and other missions will have several benefits for both countries, such as:
- Exchange of technology and resources: The collaboration will enable the two agencies to share their expertise, experience, and equipment, and to reduce the costs and risks of space exploration. For example, NASA can provide ISRO with its advanced technologies, such as the Orion capsule, the Gateway station, and the lunar lander, while ISRO can provide NASA with its low-cost launch vehicles, such as the PSLV and the GSLV.
- Advancement in space exploration and research: The collaboration will also enhance the scientific and technological capabilities of both countries and enable them to conduct more experiments and discoveries in space. For example, the NISAR satellite will provide valuable data on Earth’s dynamic processes, such as climate change, natural hazards, and ecosystem changes, which can help both countries improve their environmental management and disaster response. The space station project will also allow both countries to conduct more research on microgravity, human physiology, and life sciences, which can have applications in medicine, agriculture, and industry.
Future Possibilities in Space Cooperation between the US and India
The collaboration between NASA and ISRO on the space station project and other missions is expected to pave the way for more cooperation and partnership between the two countries in the future, such as:
- Joint working group on human spaceflight cooperation: The two agencies have established a joint working group on human spaceflight cooperation, which will explore the potential areas of collaboration, such as crew training, safety standards, mission operations, and technology development. The working group will also coordinate the participation of Indian astronauts in the ISS and the Artemis program, which aims to send humans to the moon and Mars.
- Potential for more joint projects and missions in the future: The two agencies have also expressed their interest in working together on more joint projects and missions in the future, such as lunar exploration, planetary exploration, asteroid defense, space debris removal, and space situational awareness. The two agencies have also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the NASA-led Lunar Gateway, which is a planned outpost in orbit around the moon that will support human and robotic exploration of the lunar surface and beyond.
The collaboration between NASA and ISRO on the space station project and other missions is a testament to the strong and growing relationship between the two countries in the field of space exploration. The collaboration will benefit not only the two countries, but also the global community, as it will contribute to the advancement of science, technology, and humanity.