U.S., India Agree To Expand Civil Space Cooperation

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed Nov. 24 to expand cooperation in civil space, less than a week after Obama returned from Beijing, where he and Chinese President HuJintao pledged to expand dialogue between the U.S. and Chinese space agencies.

During a White House press conference with Obama, Singh said India and the United States had agreed to explore new partnerships in space.

“We will deepen our ongoing cooperation in frontier areas of science and technology, nuclear power, and space,” Singh said. “This will open new opportunities for our universities and laboratories, and create human capital to meet the global needs of the future.”

The Nov. 24 joint press conference followed the signing of a U.S.-Indian agreement to share data from India’s Oceansat-2 satellite. Oceansat-2 was launched Sept. 23 atop India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The letter of intent was signed Nov. 18 by Michael Freilich, director of NASA’s Earth Sciences Division; Mary Kicza, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s satellite division; and R.R. Navalgund, director of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Space Applications Centre, during the Sixth Plenary Session of the Group on Earth Observations held in Washington Nov. 17-18.