NASA and India have signed a pact on space exploration that sets the terms for future co-operation in the peaceful uses of outer space. Signed on 1 February by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G Madhavan Nair, and NASA administrator Michael Griffin at the Kennedy Space Center, this agreement enables ISRO and NASA to co-operate on a wide range of programmes.

The agreement replaces an earlier one signed in December 1997 and encompasses co-operation in the areas of Earth observation, space sciences, exploration and human flight.

"India has extensive space-related experience, capabilities and infrastructure and will continue to be a welcome partner in NASA's future space exploration activities," says Griffin.

India's forthcoming unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 will carry two scientific instruments supplied by the USA - a moon minerology mapper and a miniature synthetic aperture radar. Commenting on NASA-ISRO co-operation on Chandrayaan-1, Nair said: "This is just a sample of what can be accomplished together as partners".

Source: Flight International