Bangalore hosts India-US civil space cooperation meet

BANGALORE: The India-US Joint Working Group (JWG) on Civil Space Cooperation was held in Bangalore ay Isro headquarters during 29 June to 30 June. JWG had been constituted as a follow up to the India-United States Conference on Space Science, Applications and Commerce.

The conference discussed ways to explore the potential and possibility of cooperation in earth observation, satellite communication, satellite navigation and its application, space science, natural hazards research and disaster management support, and education and training in space.

ISRO Satellite Centre space commission member and ISRO Satellite Centre director Dr. P S Goel, and principal deputy assistant secretary of State, Washington, Anthony F. Rock

co-chaired the JWG meeting, which was inaugurated by Isro chairman G Madhavan Nair.

In all, 25 US delegates representing Department of State, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, US Geological Survey, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, universities and industry attended the meeting.

Senior officials of India's Department of Space, Ministry of External Affairs, ANTRIX Corporation and other Government of India Departments/ Agencies concerned with applications of space technology also took part in the meeting.

The two delegations agreed that India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission offers an outstanding opportunity to begin cooperation in space exploration.

Cooperation on this mission will further both countries' goals in space. Nasa believes that its participation in this program will be an important contribution to the Vision for U.S. Space Exploration announced by the President of the United States in January 2004.

The JWG noted that significant progress has been made in the U.S. GPS, the U.S. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and the Indian GAGAN space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Systems (PNTS). Both sides have a shared interest in promoting interoperability among existing and future civil space based PNTS to create a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and are ready for expanded bilateral cooperation in this area.

The JWG expressed the intent to collaborate on a variety of earth observation projects. It was agreed to investigate the comparability and complementarity of data from U.S. Landsat and Indian IRS satellites and establishing an earth reception station in India for the U.S. National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS).

The Joint Working Group meeting has given further impetus towards strengthening and expanding the cooperation between India and the United States in the area of space exploration as envisaged in the June 2004 Conference.

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