India and the US have started talks to build a strategic framework for human space flight by year-end with the plan to send an Indian astronaut to the International Space Station in 2024.
US President Joe Biden also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the historic landing of Chandrayaan-3 at the lunar south pole and the success of Aditya-L1 solar mission.
Human space flight cooperation
“Determined to deepen our partnership in outer space exploration, ISRO and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have commenced discussions on modalities, capacity building, and training for mounting a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024, and are continuing efforts to finalise a strategic framework for human space flight cooperation by the end of 2023,” said a joint statement.
Brief look at the ISS
The ISS was launched in November 1998, taking ten years and more than 30 missions to assemble.
It is one of the two modular space stations located in the Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), the other being China’s Tiangong Space Station (TSS).
So far 271 persons from 21 countries have visited the ISS.
A visit by an Indian astronaut would make the person the second Indian citizen to go to space after Rakesh Sharma’s visit to the USSR’s Salyut 7 orbital station in 1984.
Returning humans to the moon
A surprise agreement was signed during Modi’s visit to the US in June.
With this, India became the 27th signatory to the non-binding Artemis Accords, a multilateral agreement between the US and other countries to return humans to the moon by 2025.
Defence of the planet
“India and the United States also intend to increase coordination on planetary defence to protect planet Earth and space assets from the impact of asteroids and near-Earth objects, including US support for India’s participation in asteroid detection and tracking via the Minor Planet Center,” the joint statement said.
Commercial space collaboration
Having set a course to reach new frontiers across all sectors of space cooperation, the leaders welcomed efforts towards establishment of a Working Group for commercial space collaboration under the existing India-U.S. Civil Space Joint Working Group.
With ISRO, a frugal yet well established and successful, the US could be looking at an obvious partner to successfully win Space Race 2.0.