U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group Advances Bilateral Space Collaboration

Officials from the United States and the Republic of India gathered at the State Department on January 30-31 for the eighth meeting of the US-India Civilian Joint Working Group (CSJWG). The meeting was co-chaired by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer R. Littlejohn and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Director for Intergovernmental and Agency Relations Karen Feldstein for the United States, and Mr. Shantanu Bhatawdekar, India’s Secretary of Science. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

CSJWG discussions include cooperation in Earth and space science as well as human space exploration, global navigation satellite systems, space flight safety and space situational awareness, and policies for the commercial space. Participants also reviewed the implementation of the rules and best practices developed by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) to ensure the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

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The United States and India have strong bilateral partnerships in space. The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, which is planned to be launched in 2024, is expected to systematically map the Earth, using two different radar frequencies to identify resources such as water, forests and follow agriculture. The mission will provide important Earth science data related to ecosystems, the Earth’s surface, natural hazards, sea level rise and the cryosphere.

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National Space Council Vice President and Executive Secretary Chirag Parikh, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and Environmental Services and International Science Monica Medina and Assistant Secretary General of the Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu on behalf of Welcome to the United States of America. The American delegation included officials from the Department of State, NASA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, the United States Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce. Mr. S. Somanath, Chairman of ISRO, and Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu presented a speech on behalf of India. The Indian delegation included representatives of ISRO, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Ministry of Earth Sciences and Ministry of External Affairs.

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