India Looking For Space Partnerships
Aviation Week & Space Technology
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India is seeking international partners for its space industry, and plans to use the upcoming International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad for some serious matchmaking. The Sept. 24-28 gathering will include a heavier-than-usual focus on space business, and Indian space leaders hope they parlay that into new contracts. India developed its space infrastructure in relative isolation, frequently blocked from meaningful cooperation by missile-proliferation concerns and Cold War politics. But that is changing, with European industry attracted by the 20% advantage in engineering costs India offers and U.S. companies beginning to follow suit. "We have expressed our intent to cooperate, but it will take some time before it stabilizes," says G. Madhavan Nair, Chair of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). "Our prime minister and President Bush had a good dialogue on this topic, and we have agreed that we will find new avenues to open up more space business." India's space organizations have concentrated on providing services to its enormous population living in villages without modern terrestrial communications. Expanding on that approach, Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, Nair's predecessor at ISRO who now serves in the Indian parliament, suggests in a major address to the International Astronautical Federation in Paris that spacefaring nations should expand cooperation in developing operational space systems to help humanity deal with problems resulting from climate change and population growth.