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World News | India-US ties more critical to space exploration: ex-NASA official

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Streaks of light seen in California. (Image source: video capture)

WASHINGTON, June 16 (PTI) — The relationship between India and the United States is absolutely critical here on Earth, and perhaps even more so in space, with India a “sleeping giant,” says a former top NASA official, the sky No longer the limit.

Mike Gold, former deputy administrator for space policy and partnerships at NASA, wants cooperation in space to be one of the main areas of discussion when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden meet at the White House next week.

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“The relationship between the US and India is absolutely critical on Earth and probably even more so in space. India will soon be the fourth country capable of sending its citizens into space, thus becoming a global leader in this field ,” said Gold, now chief growth officer at Redwire Space in Florida.

“The sky is no longer the limit for India,” he told PTI on Thursday.

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Gold is credited with being the creator of the Artemis Accord, a set of agreements that set the framework for responsible lunar exploration.

India is conducting missions to monitor and survey and explore Earth’s climate change through the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) program, a joint NASA and ISRO project to develop and launch a dual-frequency SAR on Earth observation satellites.

“India will go to the moon in a rover and India will go to the sun. I think it’s a wonderful synergy and balance between the sun and moon missions that India is doing.

“Of course, there’s the Gaganyaan mission, which is the first crew mission it’s doing. India is also very innovative in terms of doing these very ambitious space programs at an affordable and low cost,” Gold said.

In this new world of the commercial space, it’s not enough to just execute the program, but if you can do it in a way that’s affordable, robust and still successful, that’s very important, he said.

Gold said India has been leading the way, certainly from a government standpoint, in implementing these bold visions and plans in a very affordable way, especially relative to what’s happening in the West.

India is well aware and has successfully leveraged its incredible human capital, he said, adding that space missions are not fueled by rockets, but by people, and India has excelled in its people.

“It has an incredible human capital base, which I believe is part of what has allowed India to carry out these ambitious tasks in an affordable, efficient and timely manner,” he said.

India is becoming and has actually become one of the greatest space powers relative to its relationship with the United States, making the relationship with the United States absolutely important, he said.

Gold said it was absolutely important that India and the US collaborate on NISAR to gather key climate data information about the planet.

This, he said, is an example of how India and the US can use the information that the two space powers can bring together to really save the world.

“As India moves forward with crew operations, I hope we can build a foundation of cooperation like NISAR in the scientific field to build a broad and deep relationship.

“On human spaceflight. I would like NASA to work and coordinate as much as possible with ISRO to support India’s overall human spaceflight goals in the US,” Gold said.

He wants the International Space Station to be a home for Indian astronauts.

He said that working with India is a unique opportunity because while human spaceflight is vital and wonderful for exploration, inspiration and science, it needs a destination and a place to go.

“As we look at where India-US relations are headed, it can start with the partnership with NASA and what’s happening with the International Space Station, but at the same time, we should be leveraging the ultimate partnership now between private sector entities and ISRO. A new wave of commercial space stations that will succeed the International Space Station,” he said.

The former senior NASA official wants India to join the ARTEMIS protocol on its trip to the moon.

“Part of the reason why it is absolutely important for India to implement the agreements is that India is already on the moon. India is a moon nation. The purpose of these agreements is to ensure that we have a peaceful and prosperous future in space,” he said.

“In my opinion, India is a sleeping giant when it comes to commercial space. You have a staggering amount of human capital and manufacturing capabilities that if applied to commercial space could be transformative not only for India but for the entire commercial space sector sex,” Gold said.

Redwire Space is in discussions with an Indian company to explore a possible manufacturing partnership in India, he said.

“I think any company that doesn’t engage in conversations to explore potential operations in India is foolish and will regret not doing so,” he said.

However, Gold said the hurdle that many commercial space companies and the private sector generally face in India is bureaucracy.

He said the amount of bureaucracy has been a challenge in securing public-private partnerships or working with Indian entities, which is why the reform and current regulations are so popular.

“The only thing holding India back is India. For the entrepreneurship that India subsequently opens up, I think the opportunity for global partnerships in the business world will be transformative.

“I applaud what Prime Minister Modi and ISRO’s leadership are doing to propel India into the future through new policies, reforms and regulations in the business space,” Gold said.

“This is very exciting not only for India but for all of us in the US private sector,” he added.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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