Russia wants India in International Space Station

International Space Station. Reuters file photo

Russia has offered to support India's participation in the International Space Station programme.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, had a meeting with the Director General of the Roscosmos (the space agency of the Government of Russian Federation), Dmitry Rogozin, in New Delhi.

Rogozin conveyed to Doval that Russian would like to see India participate in the International Space Station (ISS) programme, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday. He promised all support from Russia for India's participation in the programme.

The ISS is a habitable artificial satellite in low earth orbit. It has been operational since 1998 as a joint project by the Roscosmos of Russia, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Canadian Space Agency and European Space Agency.

The astronauts from 18 countries so far visited the ISS.

If Russia helps India participate in the ISS programme, it could relive a high point in bilateral cooperation – Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma’s historic April 1984 flight on board the Soviet shuttle Soyuz T 11 to Salyut 7 space station.

The ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) earlier this month signed a contract with a Roscosmos's subsidiary Glavkosmos for the training of the crew of the “Gaganyaan” – the proposed maiden manned space mission of India.

The Gaganyaan is expected to carry astronauts of India to space in 2022, coinciding with 75th anniversary of the Independence. “Russia has promised all assistance for India’s human space flight mission, Gaganyaan,” a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said after National Security Advisor's meeting with Director General of the Roscosmos on Thursday.

Moscow had earlier in September 2018 also conveyed to New Delhi that it could take the crew of the Gaganyaan to the ISS for training.

Rogozin and Doval also discussed the possibilities of Russia's support for the production of space systems in India.

Doval was joined by ISRO chairman K Sivan, who is also the Secretary of the Department of Space, during talks with Rogozin.

They discussed cooperation in futuristic technologies, including new space systems, rocket engines, propellants and propulsion systems, spacecraft and launch vehicle technology.

Cooperation in space has emerged as a key area of cooperation in the high technology sector between India and Russia, the MEA noted.

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