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India, America to cooperate in space exploration

world Updated: Feb 02, 2008 19:02 IST

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India and the US have agreed to cooperate in the exploration and use of space for peaceful purposes, including in human space flight, under an agreement signed between their space agencies.

A framework agreement establishing the terms for future cooperation between the Indian Space Research Organisation and National Aeronautics and Space Administration was signed on Friday at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair.

"I am honoured to sign this agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation," Griffin said. "This agreement will allow us to cooperate effectively on a wide range of programmes of mutual interest. India has extensive space-related experience, capabilities and infrastructure, and will continue to be a welcome partner in NASA's future space exploration activities," he said.

According to the framework agreement, the two agencies will identify areas of mutual interest and seek to develop cooperative programmes or projects in Earth and space science, exploration, human space flight and other activities.

The agreement replaces a soon-to-expire agreement signed on December 16, 1997, which fostered bilateral cooperation in the areas of Earth and atmospheric sciences.

In addition to a long history of cooperation in Earth science, NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation are also cooperating on India's first mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, which will be launched later this year.

NASA is providing two of the 11 instruments on the spacecraft -- the moon mineralogy mapper instrument and the miniature synthetic aperture radar instrument.