Nasa to train Indian astronaut for International Space Station voyage

Published November 30, 2023
NASA administrator Bill Nelson poses for a picture with former Indian Astronaut Rakesh Sharma, during a conversation with NASA and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) at VITM Auditorium, in Bengaluru, India on November 29, 2023. — Reuters
NASA administrator Bill Nelson poses for a picture with former Indian Astronaut Rakesh Sharma, during a conversation with NASA and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) at VITM Auditorium, in Bengaluru, India on November 29, 2023. — Reuters

BENGALURU: Nasa will train an Indian astronaut for a voyage to the International Space Station as early as next year, Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson said on Wednesday, amid deepening space ties between India and the United States.

“There is an opportunity to share science,” Nelson said, speaking at an event in Bengaluru, where he is due to inspect the NISAR satellite on Thursday.

Nasa-ISRO SAR (NISAR) is a low-Earth orbit observatory system jointly developed by Nasa and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). Roughly the size of an SUV, the satellite is set to be launched from India in the first quarter of next year, with a target launch set for January.

NISAR will map the entire planet once every 12 days, providing data for understanding changes in ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, groundwater and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.

India is aiming to increase its share of the global satellite launch market fivefold within the next decade and agreed to join Nasa’s Artemis Accords in June this year.

The accords aim to clarify and modernise principles of the widely ratified 1967 Outer Space Treaty by urging scientific transparency and establishing rules of coordination to avoid harmful interference in space and on the moon.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2023

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