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India visit this week, NASA chief to talk human mission to space

Will review development of ‘NISAR spacecraft’, a joint venture with ISRO

India visit this week, NASA chief to talk human mission to space

Bill Nelson



Tribune News Service

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, November 26

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will travel to India this week and hold talks with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials on a joint mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024.

Eyeing several firsts

  • One of the space mission’s key goals is to land the first woman and the first person of colour on the moon
  • It aims at promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in space exploration
  • It’s the first time NASA and ISRO have cooperated on hardware development for an earth-observing mission

The path to greater collaboration between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and ISRO was smoothened by India signing the Artemis Accords during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US this June. One of its key goals is to land the first woman and the first person of colour on the moon to promote greater diversity and inclusivity in space exploration.

The NASA Administrator will also review the development of the “NISAR spacecraft”, a joint earth-observing mission between NASA and the ISRO that is undergoing testing and integration for launch in 2024. This is the first time NASA and ISRO have cooperated on hardware development for an earth-observing mission.

The NISAR satellite is currently undergoing performance testing, to be followed by several rounds of environmental testing to ensure it can withstand the rigours of launch and meet all of its operational requirements once in orbit.

It will then be transported to Satish Dhawan Space Centre, where it will be inserted into its launch fairing, mounted atop ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II rocket, and sent into low earth orbit.

The integration is unique. Two major components of the NISAR satellite have been combined to create a single spacecraft in Bengaluru. Nelson will also meet students to discuss science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

Nelson’s visit will also take forward the decisions taken at the last I2U2 (Israel, India, the United Arab Emirates and the United States) meeting to use space-based observation data and capabilities of the four countries.

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