The USA and India have signed a series of documents on cooperation in the space sector. The Artemis Accords, which regulate lunar exploration, have become the most significant among them. All this indicates that India will not become a partner of Russia and China in the construction of their joint base on the satellite of our planet in the future.
USA and India will collaborate in space
On June 22, 2023, it became known that among the documents signed by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, during his visit to the USA, were those related to the space sector. During a joint press conference, the heads of state announced that they had agreed on broad cooperation, including projects in near-Earth space.
The most important document related to space is undoubtedly the Artemis Accords. It describes the principles regulating joint exploration of the Moon by the countries. India has become the 27th member to join the club of nations committed to fulfilling these agreements.
Flight of an Indian astronaut to the ISS
As for other documents, the joint statement by NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) stating that they have “a goal to begin joint efforts for a flight to the International Space Station in 2024” caught attention.
The exact meaning of this statement has not been explained by either side. However, experts speculate that it refers to the flight of an Indian astronaut during one of the private missions. However, for this purpose, he or she will have to undergo additional training at NASA.
In general, India has its own project of a manned spacecraft called Gaganyaan. However, the date of its first launch in 2022, announced by Modi in 2018, has already passed, and the flight has not taken place. Now it is expected to occur no earlier than 2025.
Who benefits from this cooperation
Until today, the USA and India already had an agreement on cooperation in the space sector. However, the new documents significantly expand it. At first glance, this is beneficial primarily to India itself. The country has its own program for the scientific exploration of Mars and the Moon.
The lunar probe Chandrayaan-3 is expected to be launched into space in July. This mission will be a repeat of the previous one, which ended with a “hard landing.” And India aims to become the fourth country, after the USA, the USSR, and China, whose spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of our satellite. And now there is no doubt that the USA will support this effort.
However, the signed agreements also bring significant benefits to the USA. Primarily, it relates to the Artemis Accords mentioned earlier. Behind them is the desire of the United States to build a large international base on the Moon, where they will have a leading role.
Russia and China have already announced their unwillingness to participate in this project and have decided to build their own station instead. There were concerns that India, which is considered a “dark horse” in the space sector by many, would join them and strengthen this alliance. However, now the United States can relax a little in this regard.