August 23, 2008
India, Nasa Tie Up for Chandrayaan
By Srinivas Laxman
MUMBAI: Preparing to its first unmanned mission to moon, Chandrayaan-1, between October and December, India joined seven other nations to team up with Nasa for the future exploration of earth's only satellite.
Confirming this, Isro spokesperson S Satish told TOI that a key pact was signed at a conference of International Lunar Users' Group at Nasa's Ames Research Centre last month. India was represented by Devi Prasad Karnik, space counsellor attached to the Indian embassy in Washington. The other seven countries are Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, France and Britain. Japan has already launched an unmanned mission to the moon. Germany, Italy and Britain had announced at International Astronautical Congress in 2007 that they planned their own lunar missions which would be independent of the European Space Agency.
The international lunar agreement, which Nasa says a "landmark" one, will allow India and the seven countries to join hands with Nasa for developing new technologies and send robotic exploratory missions for a manned return mission to the moon.
For Nasa, the lunar agreement is important as the eight countries, including India, are keen to send astronauts to the moon. Experts say the increased interest in the lunar science and the emergence of India, Japan and China as important space-faring nations will also help Nasa.
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