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From launch vehicles to ground infrastructure, India-Russia space partnership to go beyond Gaganyaan

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi sees off Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the India-Russia annual summit in New Delhi on Monday (Images courtesy: Kremlin.ru)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos have taken their partnership to the next level after signing yet another agreement on 'Cooperation in Space' during 21st India-Russia Annual Summit in New Delhi on Monday.

The latest agreement spelled out measures for the protection of technologies in connection with cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, as well as in the creation and operation of launch vehicles and ground-based space infrastructure.

The document creates a regulatory and legal basis, which is necessary, among other things, for the transition to the practical implementation of Russian-Indian cooperation in the field of engine building.

"There was appreciation on the Space Programme training of four Indian cosmonauts, who are on the Gaganyaan mission. They have concluded their training, but there is other areas of cooperation with Russia and the space sector including joint development, joint R&D, etc," said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

India's Ministry of External Affairs stated that, during their meeting in Delhi on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the progress of some specific projects,covering strategic areas including civil nuclear energy and space.

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Russia has contributed extensively to India's rise as a space power since the USSR became one of the three countries that helped India in setting up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 1962.

The launching of the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata, in 1975 and first Indian cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma's eight-day flight as a member of a joint Soviet-Indian Soyuz-T11 spacecraft crew in 1984 took the partnership to new heights, quite literally.

In 2007, ISRO and Roscosmos had signed an agreement on joint lunar research and exploration with the cooperation envisaging Chandrayaan-2, a joint lunar mission involving a lunar orbiting spacecraft and a Lander/Rover on the moon's surface.

Russia is also playing a significant role in the Gaganyaan orbital spacecraft project which had kicked off in August 2018 with a mission to send aloft an astronaut from Indian soil to mark the 75th anniversary of the country’s independence in 2022.

Last year, four Indian Air Force fighter pilots started training at Moscow's Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) for a spaceflight under the contract between Glavkosmos, JSC (part of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos) and ISRO's Human Spaceflight Centre.

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Members of the Soviet-Indian space crew, including India's cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma (Image courtesy: Russian Embassy in India)

The extensive cooperation between the two countries in the field of space is only expected to grow further with the signing of the new agreement.

Already, as reported by IndiaNarrative.com last week, India is considering proposals for collaborations and cooperation in space research with many countries.

Atomic Energy and Space minister Jitendra Singh had told Rajya Sabha on Thursday that building of satellites, development of science instruments for earth observation, space science and planetary exploration; new propulsion technologies; sharing of satellite data; human spaceflight support, space situational awareness, training and capacity building in space technology applications are some of the specific areas in which collaboration and cooperation could be possible in future.

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