The India-US Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation held its first
meeting at Antariksh Bhavan, the Headquarters of ISRO at Bangalore during June
29-30, 2005. This Joint Working Group was constituted recently as a follow up
to the India-United States Conference on Space Science, Applications and
Commerce held in Bangalore during June 21-25, 2004.
The Joint Working Group (JWG) deliberated in the last two days to explore the
potential and possibility of cooperation in earth observation, satellite
communication, satellite navigation and its application, space science, natural
hazards research and disaster management support, and education and training in
space. These topics were identified based upon the vision document on
strengthening India-US cooperation issued at the end of the June 2004 Bangalore
Dr. P S Goel, Member, Space Commission and Director, ISRO Satellite Centre and
Mr. Anthony F. Rock, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Washington,
co-chaired the Joint Working Group meeting, which was inaugurated by Mr. G
Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO. In all, 25 US delegates representing Department
of State, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of
Transportation, Department of Commerce, US Geological Survey, and National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, universities and industry attended the
Joint Working Group meeting. Senior officials of India's Department of Space,
Ministry of External Affairs, ANTRIX Corporation and other Government of India
Departments/ Agencies concerned with applications of space technology took part
in the meeting.
The two delegations agreed that India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission offers an
outstanding opportunity to begin cooperation in space exploration. Cooperation
on this mission will further both countries' goals in space. NASA believes that
its participation in this programme will be an important contribution to the
Vision for U.S. Space Exploration announced by the President of the United
States in January 2004.
The JWG noted that significant progress has been made in the U.S. GPS, the U.S.
Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and the Indian GAGAN space-based
Positioning, Navigation and Timing Systems (PNTS). Both sides have a shared
interest in promoting interoperability among existing and future civil space
based PNTS to create a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). This area is
ready for expanded bilateral cooperation.
The JWG expressed the intent to collaborate on a variety of earth observation
projects. It was agreed to investigate the comparability and complementarity of
data from U.S. Landsat and Indian IRS satellites and establishing an earth
reception station in India for the U.S. National Polar-Orbiting Operational
Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS).
The Joint Working Group meeting has given further impetus towards strengthening
and expanding the cooperation between India and the United States in the area
of space exploration as envisaged in the June 2004 Conference.