Bill Nelson, the administrator of NASA, said reporters on Tuesday (Nov. 28) that the agency will assist in the training of two Indian astronauts, one of whom is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2019.
Nelson is currently trying to strengthen NASA’s relationship with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) by meeting with legislators and space agency representatives on a week-long, multi-city visit to India. Both space agencies have previously promised to work together on upcoming space initiatives, such as planetary defense and a cooperative endeavor involving the International Space Station.
Nelson thanked Jitendra Singh, the deputy minister for science and technology, during a meeting this week in New Delhi, on the successful landing of the nation’s historic Chandrayaan-3 mission a few months ago, close to the moon’s south pole.
According to Nelson, NASA is currently awaiting ISRO approval to begin astronaut training.
He said, “It would be a year from now,” to Pallava Bagla of NDTV. “It would be the end of 2024 that the Indian astronaut would go to the space station, probably for two weeks, and then they would conduct scientific experiments that would be of importance to India.”
Nelson also met with Rakesh Sharma this week. Sharma was the first Indian national to travel to the Soviet Union’s Salyut 7 space station for a week in 1984, marking his first journey to low-Earth orbit. About forty years from now, ISRO chairman S. Somanath stated that the organization will probably choose four astronauts for training for its upcoming space mission.
“All four will get overseas training and two shortlisted candidates will undergo training at NASA,” Somanath stated.
The astronauts’ training for moon landing missions—which India aims to accomplish by 2040—was not immediately apparent.
Early in the next year, both space agencies will work together to launch the NISAR Earth observation satellite.
Nelson stated, “It’s critical that we take this on as partners.”