Indian Astronauts Train With NASA Ahead of 2024 ISS Visit

6th Dec 2023
Indian Astronauts Train With NASA Ahead of 2024 ISS Visit

NASA administrator Bill Nelson told reporters on 28th November that the agency will be involved in the training of two Indian astronauts. One of them will fly to the ISS (International Space Station) late in 2024.

During a multi-city visit to India, Nelson met with government representatives and space agency experts to strengthen NASA’s alliance with the Indian Space Research Organisation. The two space agencies have previously committed to collaborating on upcoming projects, such as a joint initiative related to the ISS and exploring new frontiers in space.

NASA is currently waiting for ISRO’s approval to commence astronaut training, revealed Nelson. During an interview with NDTV’s Pallava Bagla, Nelson mentioned that an Indian astronaut may go to the space station towards the end of 2024 for a two-week period. During that period, they would perform scientific experiments crucial to India.

ISRO to Select Four Candidate Indian Astronauts for Training

Nelson also met Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian national in space. Sharma’s journey included a week-long trip to the Soviet Union’s Salyut 7 space station in low-Earth orbit in 1984. S. Somanath, ISRO chairman, recently announced that the agency is planning to select four astronauts for training for their upcoming space mission. This is nearly four decades after Sharma’s historic journey. As per the plan, all four candidates will receive overseas training. Following that, two shortlisted out of the four Indian astronauts will be trained at NASA.

It has yet to be made clear whether the shortlisted astronauts also would be trained for lunar landing missions, a milestone India seeks to accomplish by 2040. However, in the meantime, the two space agencies are working together to launch the NISAR Earth observation satellite in the first quarter of 2024. 

As a part of the Biden administration’s push to enhance technology and innovation projects between the United States and India, Nelson’s visit is a step towards that goal. NASA has also been actively seeking to broaden its global partnerships in line with the Artemis Accords, which aim to ensure peaceful and transparent space exploration.

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