Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India has taken a "big leap forward" in space cooperation after it joined the Artemis Accords, which advance a common vision of space exploration for the benefit of all humankind.
Grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (OST), the Artemis Accords are a non-binding set of principles designed to guide civil space exploration and use in the 21st century. It is an American-led effort to return humans to the moon by 2025, with the ultimate goal of expanding space exploration to Mars and beyond.
On Thursday, India decided to join the Artemis Accords.
“By taking the decision to join the Artemis Accords, we have taken a big leap forward in our space cooperation. In fact, in short, for India and America partnership, even the sky is not the limit,” Prime Minister Modi told reporters at a news conference here at the White House with President Joe Biden.
In a fact sheet, the White House said India has signed the Artemis Accords, which advance a common vision of space exploration for the benefit of all humankind.
India joins 26 other countries committed to peaceful, sustainable, and transparent cooperation that will enable exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
According to a joint statement issued after the meetings at the White House, Biden and Modi set a course to reach new frontiers across all sectors of space cooperation.
“The leaders applauded our growing cooperation on earth and space science, and space technologies. They welcomed the decision of NASA and ISRO to develop a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation by the end of 2023,” it said.
The two leaders hailed the announcement by NASA to provide advanced training to Indian astronauts at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, with a goal of mounting a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024.
The leaders celebrated the delivery of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite to ISRO's U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru and looked forward to NISAR's 2024 launch from India.
“Welcoming India's Space Policy – 2023, the leaders called for enhanced commercial collaboration between the US and Indian private sectors in the entire value chain of the space economy and to address export controls and facilitate technology transfer,” it said.
“Biden deeply appreciated India's signing of the Artemis Accords, which advance a common vision of space exploration for the benefit of all humankind,” it said.
The White House said NASA will provide advanced training to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) astronauts with the goal of launching a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024.
Additionally, NASA and the ISRO are developing a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation by the end of 2023, it said.
India approved a USD 318 million investment to construct a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in India—that will work in tandem with similar facilities in the United States, Europe, and Japan to look for ripples in space-time, known as gravitational waves, that provide insights into the physical origins of the universe.
Scientific payloads for the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) have been delivered to India and will be launched in 2024, and will measure Earth's changing ecosystems like natural hazards and sea level rise.
“The US Geological Survey and ISRO are negotiating expanded bilateral data exchange that will enable greater insight about the earth, including for a range of applications, such as climate resiliency, sustainable development and management of natural resources, and disaster management support,” it said.
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