Global space cooperation is an integral part of India’s space programme, a top Indian space scientist has said and supported the idea of nations coming together to replicate the International Space Station for another outpost in space. In this entire journey of the Indian space programme, global space cooperation has always been “an integral part”, Krunal Joshi who is currently a counsellor, Space (ISRO) at the Embassy of India told a recent ASCEND Conference.
Participating in two-panel discussions at the prestigious ASCEND conference, hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in Las Vegas from October 24 to October 26, Joshi told the space scientific community that India has launched more than 350 satellites from 33 countries. In the 1960s, India dedicated Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station to the UN and a variety of research and launch experiments were done from here. India today has more than 230 agreements with over 55 countries and five multinational bodies. This ranges from building satellites to capacity building, he said.
UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training) started by ISRO under the aegis of the UN, where India is helping budding countries in capacity building, satellite building and how they can build nanosatellites. In 2019, India has 60 officials from 32 countries and in 2022, there are 32 officials from 22 nations. So, it’s a programme which is doing good for the upcoming countries.
India’s Chandrayaan-I, he said, is one of the shining examples of how international collaboration can help to achieve something big. Countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria contributed with their payload and more than 50 countries currently are emulating the science out of that. It’s a classic example of how big countries can come together in space, he added.
Responding to a question, during one of the panel discussions, Joshi said that India is unlikely to build its international space station of its own, but supported the idea of an international collaboration. “It is very difficult for India on its own to have an entire space station. We don’t know. I don’t think that that will be a more feasible solution. A more feasible solution would be for countries to come together and replicate what we did in the ISS,” Joshi said.