US Ambassador hails ISRO's role in global space exploration

ISRO Chairman S Somanath with the US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti during the latter's visit to ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru. Photo: IANS

New Delhi: Even as India and the US are extending their co-operation in the field of space exploration, the US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti visited the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) headquarters in Bengaluru on Saturday and appreciated India's achievements in the field.

During his meeting with ISRO Chairman S Somanath, the US Ambassador expressed his admiration for the organisation's accomplishments and its role in global space exploration and discussed the future course of action in the area.

"The discussions highlighted both countries' mutual interests and shared goals in advancing space science, technology, and the space economy. Ongoing associations through various Joint Working Groups, Artemis Accord, NISAR, and the use of the Laser Reflectometer Array on Chandrayaan-3 were also discussed," ISRO said in a statement after the meeting.

Under iCET (Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology), the two countries have unveiled a roadmap for increased collaboration in high-technology fields. The initiative focuses on addressing regulatory barriers, aligning export controls, and encouraging deeper cooperation in crucial and emerging fields.

Future programmes, including the exchange visits of both sides' professionals, continuation of balloon experiments, and identifying milestone events, were also discussed as ISRO emphasised the need to address access to critical components and items to expedite collaborative missions.

"Ambassador Garcetti inquired about the role played by the Department of Space in fostering commercial space activities. Chairman Somanath elaborated on this, mentioning that for the first time, payload technology and space-bound hardware are being built in Indian facilities that are outside ISRO labs. ISRO plans to source payloads and satellites for its programmes from Indian companies and enable them to enter the global market," added the ISRO statement.

The organisation detailed that other significant discussions between both sides focused on NASA's participation in India's proposal for a G-20 satellite for environment and climate change, an advanced imaging spectrometer satellite as a follow-up mission for NISAR, and encouragement of cooperation between commercial companies from both countries for quicker and more effective outcomes, Gaganyaan cargo module as an option for transfer of cargo to International Space Station.

"The US Ambassador has also proposed a QUAD satellite. Chairman, ISRO pointed out the opportunity to develop advanced detectors and packaging technologies with US-India academic institutions. He emphasised building and standardising docking interfaces across human space programmes to enable the utilisation of space platforms by other countries and joining hands to build a navigation system on the moon, either in orbit or on the surface," said ISRO.
Garcetti's visit concluded with a commitment to further strengthen the partnership between India and the United States in the field of space.

"Honoured to meet ISRO Chairman Dr S Somanath and team! From advancing NISAR satellite to fostering human spaceflight and promoting commercial space endeavours, the US-India Space commitment stands strong and is advancing our shared goals within the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET)," the US Ambassador posted on X.
(With inputs from IANS)

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