India and US Join Forces to Send Indian Astronauts to International Space Station by 2024

Washington: The United States will soon be flying Indian astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), surpassing India’s own human space mission, Gaganyaan. The US President, Joe Biden, and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, have expressed their commitment to expanding space cooperation between the two nations.

In a joint statement, the leaders commended the progress made in earth and space science, as well as space technologies. They welcomed the collaboration between NASA and ISRO, with plans to establish a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation by the end of 2023.

The announcement includes NASA’s decision to provide advanced training to Indian astronauts at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The goal is to jointly launch a mission to the ISS in 2024, marking a significant milestone in Indo-US space collaboration.

While it remains uncertain which individuals from India will participate in the US-Indo space program, it is noteworthy that four Indian Air Force (IAF) officials have already undergone astronaut training in Russia as part of India’s Gaganyaan program.

In addition to the human spaceflight endeavour, India will launch the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite using an Indian rocket from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh. NISAR, a collaborative effort between NASA and ISRO, aims to enhance earth observation capabilities.

The leaders of both countries also emphasized the importance of fostering commercial collaboration in the space industry. They called for increased engagement between US and Indian private sectors across the entire value chain of the space economy, addressing export controls and facilitating technology transfer.

President Biden expressed his appreciation for India’s participation in the Artemis Accords, a set of principles promoting global cooperation in space exploration. The agreement reflects a shared vision of leveraging space exploration for the benefit of humanity.

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