Indian launchers will be able to carry US satellites, while Indian satellites will have access to US components under a deal signed by President Bush during a state visit to India on 1-3 March.

Bush finalised the agreement with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a year of preparation by the two countries.

The deal was drawn up by a joint working group formed in June to look at expanding civil space co-operation. The group is led by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellite centre director P S Goel and US State Department principal deputy assistant secretary Anthony Rock.

“An agreement has been reach­ed that will permit US satellites and satellites containing US components to be launched by Indian space launch vehicles,” says the US-Indian joint statement. ISRO has been expecting NASA to provide instrumentation for its Chandrayaan-1 Moon probe, set for launch in early 2008.

The USA has expressed interest in co-operating on Earth observation projects and agreed in principle to establishing a ground station in India for the US National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System.

The working group will continue to explore areas for enhanced co-operation and will also promote inter­operability among existing and future space-based navigation systems to create a global navigation satellite system. India plans to join the European Galileo navigation satellite programme and has had talks on using Russia’s Glonass.

Russia is expected to launch some Glonass spacecraft on Indian boosters and European satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium is marketing spacecraft built with ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix.


Source: Flight International