US to Fly Indian Astronauts to Space, Surpassing India's Gaganyaan Mission
US to Fly Indian Astronauts to Space, Surpassing India's Gaganyaan Mission

CHENNAI: After Russia in 1984, the United States is set to fly Indian astronauts to space, outpacing India's own human space mission, Gaganyaan.

In a significant development, the United States has taken the lead in flying Indian astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, a milestone achievement for the Indian space program. This article explores the joint efforts of the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in advancing space cooperation between the two countries.

Underlining their commitment to push boundaries and explore new frontiers in space cooperation, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed their enthusiasm for the joint space program in a joint statement issued by the US White House. The leaders acknowledged the growing collaboration in the domains of earth and space science, as well as space technologies.

Both NASA and ISRO have made a historic decision to develop a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation by the end of 2023. This significant step will pave the way for future joint endeavors in space exploration. The leaders have applauded this initiative, recognizing the immense potential it holds for both nations.

NASA has announced its plans to provide advanced training to Indian astronauts at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The goal is to equip Indian astronauts with the necessary skills and expertise required for a successful joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024. This training opportunity signifies the deepening collaboration between the two countries and sets the stage for a remarkable space mission.

Since Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma's historic journey to space aboard a Russian rocket in 1984, India has eagerly awaited another opportunity to send its astronauts beyond Earth's atmosphere. With the United States taking the lead this time, it remains a point of intrigue as to who will represent India on this momentous American rocket mission to the International Space Station.
As part of India's Gaganyaan program, four Indian Air Force (IAF) officials have already undergone extensive astronaut training in Russia. It remains uncertain whether these four individuals will be chosen for the US-India joint space program or if a different set of candidates will be considered. The selection process will undoubtedly involve rigorous evaluations to determine the most qualified individuals for this groundbreaking mission.

In addition to the human spaceflight collaboration, the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) program is another flagship initiative that highlights the strong partnership between the United States and India. NISAR, an advanced earth observation satellite jointly built by NASA and ISRO, will be launched into orbit by an Indian rocket from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh next year. This endeavor further strengthens the scientific and technological cooperation between the two nations.

President Biden and Prime Minister Modi have emphasized the need for enhanced commercial collaboration between the US and Indian private sectors throughout the entire value chain of the space economy. Both leaders have also called for measures to address export controls and facilitate technology transfer. These collaborative efforts aim to leverage the expertise and resources of both countries to advance space exploration and benefit humanity as a whole.

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