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  International Cooperation

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) places great importance on working together with other countries and international bodies in promoting the development and use of space technology for different applications. ISRO continues to harness the benefits of international cooperation through (i) working together with other space agencies in programmes of mutual interest (ii) participating in international committees and other fora dealing with space policies and coordination of space operations and (iii) providing expertise and services to other nations in the applications of space technology.

Formal cooperative arrangements are currently in place with space agencies of 33 countries and three multinational bodies, namely, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Egypt, European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), European Organisation for Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), European Space Agency (ESA), France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The Netherlands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America and Venezuela. The areas of cooperation address mainly Remote Sensing of Earth, Satellite Communication, Launch Services, Telemetry and Tracking Support, Space Exploration, Space Law and Capacity Building.

Cooperative instruments signed during this year are: (i) Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) between ISRO and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) / Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to enable exchange of technical information on possible cooperation in the joint development of a dual frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite for earth observation (ii) ‘Statement of Intent’ for long-term cooperation in space between ISRO and French National Space Agency (CNES) (iii) TAA between ISRO and Caltech/JPL on cross support for Network and Navigation Services (iv) Reimbursable Agreement between ISRO and NASA on spacecraft communications and navigation support for India’s Mars Orbiter Mission and (v) Gift Agreement between Indian Institute of Space science and Technology (IIST) and Caltech to establish an endowed fellowship in honor of Prof. Satish Dhawan (vi) Agreement between ISRO and EUMETSAT on cooperation in exchange, redistribution and utilisation of data and products from meteorological and ocean satellites in support of weather analysis and forecasting and other related areas (vii) Implementing arrangement between ISRO and Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) for cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

India and France are also pursuing commercial relations mainly in satellite building and launch services. After the successful launch of the French satellite ‘SPOT-6’ under a commercial arrangement using PSLV in September 2012, agreement has already been signed for the launch of similar ‘SPOT-7’ satellite. Ariane Space, a major launch service provider based in France, has so far launched 16 Indian Geostationary satellites on commercial basis including India’s advanced meteorological satellite INSAT-3D in July 2013 and communication satellite GSAT-7 in August 2013.

India-USA space cooperation made significant progress during this year with the successful organisation of the fourth meeting of India-USA Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation (JWG-CSC) at Washington DC, USA on March 21, 2013. Both sides have agreed (i) to expand cooperation on a number of measures that will improve the use of earth observation data to promote sustainable development (ii) to move forward with the proposed cooperation in L and S-band SAR mission (iii) to continue the discussion in planetary sciences and Heliophysics to identify areas of potential cooperation and (iv) to discuss on promoting compatibility and interoperability in satellite navigation systems. Deep Space Navigation and Tracking services support is being provided by JPL of NASA for ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission. An endowed fellowship in honour of Prof. Satish Dhawan has been established by ISRO/DOS at Caltech, USA. Under this, one graduating student from the Aerospace Department of the IIST can pursue Masters in Aerospace Engineering at Caltech every year starting from the winter session of 2013.

ISRO - German Aerospace Centre (DLR) Technical Workshop to identify future areas of cooperation was organised at Bengaluru in March 2013. Both sides shared their expertise and identified potential areas for pursuing cooperative and commercial activities. Cooperation in earth observation mainly for climate monitoring, science missions and commercial opportunities in launch services, ground stations support and components procurement were discussed.

ISRO and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are working together to realise the Ultra Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) to be included as one of the five scientific instruments in India’s multi wavelength astronomical satellite called ASTROSAT. This cooperation also envisages sharing of data from ASTROSAT mission and joint research in astronomy data analysis.

Under India-ASEAN cooperation, it is proposed to establish a station in one of the ASEAN member countries to receive, process and use data from Indian Earth Observation satellites for a variety of applications including disaster management support. A network of weather stations is being established in SAARC region to support severe thunderstorm predictions. As part of India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) South-South cooperation, the space agencies of all three nations are exploring the possibility to jointly realise a small satellite for space weather studies.

Global scientific community was using the wind products derived from OCEANSAT-2 Scatterometer for research and operational applications till March 2014 and have shown interest in using data from other Indian satellites including RISAT-1 and INSAT-3D.

The Sixth “Group on Earth Observations System of Systems (GEOSS) Asia Pacific Symposium”, with a theme of ‘Accelerating inter linkages in the Asia Pacific region with global Earth observations’ was organised at Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad during February 25-27, 2013.

Prominent visitors to ISRO this year include: NASA Administrator, JPL Director, CNES President and Chairman of State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) and Minister of Post, Telecommunication and Communication from Lao PDR, and Minister of Science, ICT and future planning from Republic of Korea.

In the field of capacity building, ISRO continues to share its facilities, expertise and services in the application of space technology through hosting of The United Nations (UN) affiliated Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTE-AP). As of now, there are more than 1340 beneficiaries from 53 countries.

ISRO continues to play an active role in the deliberations of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) and other multilateral fora including United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), International COSPAS-SARSAT system for search and rescue operations, International Astronautical Federation (IAF), International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), Inter Agency Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), Space Frequency Coordination Group (SFCG), Coordinating Group on Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), International Global Observing Strategy (IGOS), International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), International Committee for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG), International Charter on ‘Space and Major Disasters', UN Platform for Space based Information for Disaster management and Emergency Response (UNSPIDER) and Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF).