Bengaluru: In a first, Nasa and Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will join forces to manufacture and launch an all-weather satellite to support disaster management, understanding movement of tectonic plates to climate change and estimation of crop and tree cover.
Dr K. Radhakrishnan, the chairman of ISRO, said, “It is the turning point in India-US relations,” adding that the new satellite will be the precursor for joint space missions in future. “It is a recognition of our ability to build and launch satellites,” he said.
An agreement to draw up the project report was signed on September 25, coinciding with the birth anniversary of the late chairman Prof. Satish Dhawan. Teams from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and ISRO’s Satellite Centre (ISAC), will put the satellite together for launch onboard an Indian rocket in 2019-2020.
He said on completion of the project report, the governments of both nations will decide on funding the project which,according to back-of-the-envelop calculations, could be in excess of Rs 1000 crores. “We have been talking to Nasa as a part of the India-US civilian space cooperation deal, and took the initiative forward during the recent visit of administrator Charles Bolden to New Delhi and Ahmedabad.
JPL has agreed to provide its ground station to monitor the orbiter to Mars.