Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden Jr., US Science Envoy for Space and Former NASA Administrator, recently met with Indian industry leaders and impressed upon them the need for public-private partnership in space activities and provided a glimpse of the benefits that could be reaped for humanity through international space collaboration.
Speaking at an interactive session organised by FICCI, Maj. Gen. Bolden said that his primary role as a private citizen now was to encourage international space collaboration and to build upon the robust cooperation between U.S. and Indian scientists and space engineers. He dwelt on topics ranging from commercialisation of space exploration, challenges facing space policy, space engineering and international space law.
NASA, he said, could help train Indian astronauts undertake space missions of ISRO. For putting up astronauts in space, ISRO does not require NASA’s permission. NASA could share its expertise and training facilities for which there was a commercial price to be paid. “It's all about shared risks and shared rewards,” he said.
A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Physical Research Laboratory, Department of Space, Former Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman ISRO, Government of India, gave an overview of the long-standing collaboration between Indian and the U.S., starting from the NASA satellite that was borrowed by India for the country Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) programme.
He said the working relationship between NASA and ISRO had acquired an energetic dimension. There was now an increasing recognition of India's capability on the space front and this confidence helps the two agencies to work shoulder-to-shoulder, he added.
The session was also addressed by Air Vice Marshal P.K. Srivastava (Retd.), Eminent Aerospace Expert and Former Director, Bharat Dynamics Limited and Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI.