ISRO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today (April 3, 2002) with the National Institute for Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) of Indonesia for cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. Dr K Kasturirangan, Chairman, ISRO and Dr Mahdi Kartasasmita, Chairman, LAPAN, signed the MOU at New Delhi in the presence of Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India and Ms Megavati Soekarnoputri, President of Indonesia.

Cooperation between India and Indonesia in the area of space started in 1997 when ISRO signed an MOU with LAPAN for the establishment of a Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TTC) station for supporting ISRO’s missions. The station, set up by ISRO at Biak in Indonesia, has provided valuable support to Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite missions. It also supported the launch of India’s GSLV which took place in April 2001. The support from LAPAN includes provision of land, logistics and manpower for the operation of the TTC station.

Many Indonesian scientists have attended different courses offered by the UN Sponsored Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific (UN-CSSTE-AP), which has been set up by India at Dehra Dun and Ahmedabad. Specifically, the Indonesian scientists have participated in courses on satellite remote sensing, geographical information systems, satellite communication, satellite meteorology and space sciences.

With the signing of the MOU today, both ISRO and LAPAN plan to expand the scope of cooperation between the two space agencies covering different areas of space sciences, technology and applications.