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India and France agree to enhance cooperation in space technology

India and France agree to enhance cooperation in space technology

India and France issued a Joint
Vision for Space Cooperation
, during the recent visit
of French President, Mr Emmanuel Macron, to India.

The vision lists specific areas for future cooperation between
the Indian and French space agencies, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organistion)
and CNES (Centre national d'études spatiales), and build on the historical linkages
between India and France in the area of civilian space. The Indo-French
relationship in space is spread over different facets of space science,
technology and applications, including sounding rocket development, liquid
engine development, hosting of payloads, joint satellite realization, training
programmes, satellite communication experiments and satellite launches.

The cooperation initiatives outlined below will be executed
through suitable existing or new joint mechanisms, including with inter-agency
representations, led by ISRO and CNES.

Imaging earth and tackling
climate change

To realise the societal benefits of space technology, both
sides will cooperate in remote sensing of earth using satellites.

This includes: 1) joint development of advanced instruments
and joint missions to study weather and climate; 2) sharing of data including
direct reception from each other's Earth observation missions meant for
Meteorology, Oceanography, Resource inventory and Cartography; and 3) sharing
of expertise in data analysis including algorithm development and modelling to
derive useful information for the benefit of humanity.

The partnership will be extended to the area of high
resolution earth observation leading up to a joint earth observation mission
with high resolution imaging capability in optical and microwave domains.

To address global challenges, including climate change, the two
space agencies will undertake joint missions, and also mobilise expertise and
resources from other space-faring nations. Both sides will pursue their
cooperation for climate monitoring on the joint missions Megha-
Tropiques
and Saral-Altika, the ongoing studies of the Trishna satellite
for land Infrared monitoring and the Oceansat3-Argos mission.  

Megha-Tropiques is a joint satellite mission involving ISRO
and CNES to study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere in the context of
climate change. The Trishna satellite mission aims to address eco-system stress
and water-use monitoring. French instruments will be accommodated on India’s Oceansat-3
satellite, scheduled
to be launched by ISRO during 2018. Oceansat-3 is next satellite in the Oceansat
series, which consists of remote sensing satellites dedicated to ocean
research. The new satellite will be able to simultaneously measure ocean colour
and sea surface temperature.

ISRO and CNES will share expertise on satellite navigation, notably
on system performance assessment by independent means (for instance through
reference stations in France and India to improve satellites' orbit
determination and clock estimation for the Indian and European navigational
systems); and navigation applications.

Situational awareness

India and France will also develop a wider dialogue on situational
awareness. ISRO and CNES are also going to work together for the design and
development of joint products and techniques in the area of situational
awareness, including those involving Automatic Identification System (AIS), to
monitor and protect the assets in land and sea. The agencies would also
cooperate to protect their respective space-based assets, including through
information-sharing on space events.

Among the 14 pacts
signed between the two countries, ISRO and CNES have arrived at arrangements
for pre-formulation studies of a maritime awareness mission, which would provide
end-to-end solution for detection, identification and monitoring of vessels in
the regions of interest for France and India.

India and France will pursue the study of a constellation of
satellites for maritime surveillance.

Exploring Moon, Mars and
beyond

The two space agencies can embark on complex high technology
space science and planetary exploration missions in future.

ISRO and CNES will collaborate on the autonomous navigation
of rovers on Moon, Mars and other planets and aero braking technologies for
planetary exploration.

CNES and ISRO, with the support of Laboratoire de
meteorologic dynamique (LMD, CNRS), will jointly work on the modelling the
atmosphere on Mars and Venus.

CNES could be involved in the definition of the scientific
goals and preparatory studies of the future planetary missions of ISRO; and
both agencies will study the possibility of embarking French science
instruments on board the future interplanetary (Moon, Mars and asteroids)
Indian missions.

ISRO and CNES will collaborate on the development of: 1)
technologies for Liquid Oxygen-methane propulsion engine; 2) reusable launch
vehicle; and 3) special materials, nano-materials, advanced composites,
polymers, chemicals, nanotechnologies and manufacturing technologies.

ISRO and CNES are going to cooperate for developing
technologies for human exploration of the universe. Specifically, they will jointly
develop capabilities and critical technologies addressing radiation shielding
solutions; personnel hygiene and waste management system; and design of
man-in-loop simulators for human space flight.

Cooperation on
International issues

According to the vision statement, as active players within
the United Nations and other fora, and in consistency with their international
commitments, France and India would cooperate regularly on international issues
of common importance including space security, safety and sustainability.

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