US and India Pave the Way for First Indian Astronaut’s Journey to the International Space Station in 2024 Amidst Space Race 2.0

US and India Pave the Way for First Indian Astronaut's Journey to the International Space Station in 2024 Amidst Space Race 2.0 - News - Before You Take
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Amid the global space race’s resurgence, the United States and India have engaged in discussions regarding the historic journey of the first Indian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024. This pivotal conversation took place during a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden ahead of the G20 Summit, where both leaders contemplated the future of space collaboration and forged plans for commercial space endeavors.

 

A Momentous Voyage Awaits

Should this mission come to fruition, it will mark a significant milestone for India, as its representative will become the second Indian citizen to venture into space in 39 years. Aboard the ISS, Indian astronauts will join the ranks of 271 individuals from 21 countries who have visited this renowned orbital laboratory, situated in the Lower Earth Orbit.

 

Forging a Space Partnership

The US views India and its space agency, ISRO, as natural allies in the emerging Space Race 2.0. Both nations have pledged to deepen their partnership in outer space exploration. Discussions have commenced between ISRO and NASA to lay out the specifics of this collaborative effort. Modalities, capacity building, and training are part of the ongoing dialogue, with the joint venture to the ISS scheduled for 2024. Furthermore, a strategic framework for human space flight cooperation is expected to be finalized by the end of 2023.

 

The International Space Station: A Global Marvel

Launched in November 1998, the ISS is one of two modular space stations situated in the Lower Earth Orbit, the other being China’s Tiangong Space Station (TSS). The ISS, spanning the size of a football field and weighing 460 tonnes, is a testament to international scientific and engineering collaboration. It orbits more than 400 kilometers above Earth and took a decade and over 30 missions to assemble.

 

A Space Odyssey for India

For India, this endeavor signifies a leap into the forefront of space exploration. While an Indian astronaut’s journey to the ISS will echo the historic feat of Rakesh Sharma’s visit to the erstwhile USSR’s Salyut 7 orbital station in 1984, it also heralds India’s resurgence in space exploration on a grand scale.

 

Acknowledging Achievements

During the discussions, President Biden extended his congratulations to the scientists and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for Chandrayaan-3’s historic landing at the Moon’s south polar region. He also praised the successful launch of India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1.

 

Artemis Accords: A Shared Vision for Space Exploration

In an unexpected turn of events, India joined the ranks of signatories to the non-binding Artemis Accords during Prime Minister Modi’s state visit to the US. The Artemis Accords, a multilateral agreement led by the US and other nations, aim to return humans to the Moon by 2025. They are instrumental in formulating shared perspectives on space exploration, emphasizing how it should be achieved and who should benefit.

 

Navigating the New Landscape

The landscape of space exploration is evolving rapidly. It encompasses an intensifying space race, rekindled after a hiatus following the USSR’s collapse in 1991. China’s remarkable achievements in space exploration, including sending taikonauts into space, constructing a crewed space station, and launching lunar and Martian missions, have reignited competition.

 

A Promising Partnership

In India and ISRO, renowned for its cost-effective and successful space missions, the US identifies a promising partner to lead in Space Race 2.0. The dialogue between the two nations heralds an exciting era of space collaboration and exploration, opening new horizons in the final frontier.

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