NASA, ISRO to send joint space missions

India has decided to join the Artemis Accords, which brings like-minded countries together on civil space exploration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have agreed to a joint mission to the International Space Station in 2024, the White House said Thursday.

“On space, we will be able to announce that India is signing the Artemis Accords, which advance a common vision for space exploration for the benefit of all humankind,” a senior administration official said hours before the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden in the Oval Office.

Grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (OST), the Artemis Accords are a non-binding set of principles designed to guide civil space exploration and use in the 21st century.

It is an American-led effort to return humans to the moon by 2025, with the ultimate goal of expanding space exploration to Mars and beyond.

The official said that NASA and the ISRO are developing a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation this year.

In addition, NASA and ISRO have agreed to a joint mission to the International Space Station in the year 2024, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On semiconductors, US companies are partnering with India to build a semiconductor ecosystem that promotes supply chain diversification.

Micron Technology with support from the Indian National Semiconductor Mission announced an investment of more than $800 million that together with additional financial support from Indian authorities will amount to a $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and test facility in India.

In addition, US Applied Materials announced the new semiconductor centre for commercialisation and innovation in India and Lamb Research, another semiconductor manufacturing equipment company is going to announce a training programme for 60,000 Indian engineers through its semi-verse solution to accelerate India’s semiconductor workforce development goals.

“On critical minerals and mineral security, the United States will announce its support for India becoming a member of the Mineral Security Partnership which is led by the US State Department and strengthens critical minerals supply chain and ensures that our respective markets are well supplied with essential critical minerals that are needed for climate, economic and strategic technology goals,” the official said.

“On advanced computing, artificial intelligence and quantum information science, India and the United States have first established a joint Indo-US quantum coordination mechanism that will facilitate more collaboration between our industries, academia, and government,” said the official.

They have also signed a new implementation arrangement on artificial intelligence advanced wireless and quantum technologies.

The US on an Economic Development Consortium is now welcoming into its membership, Indian Quantum universities and entities as well.

On advanced telecommunications, the two countries are working together on 5G and 6G technologies and including Open Radio Access Network (RAN) systems.

“Here we’ll be announcing partnerships on open ran, field trials and rollouts, including scale deployments in both countries with operators and vendors of both markets. This will involve backing from the US International Development Finance, for cooperation and to promote the deployments in India,” the official said.

India’s 5G and 6G and the US Next G alliance will be leading a new public-private Cooperation forum as well.

The US will also be welcoming Indian participation in the US rip and replace programme that removes telecommunications equipment made by untrusted vendors.

“On people-to-people ties and higher education, leveraging the enormous talent, particularly in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields in both countries and coming out of a task force chaired by the Association of American Universities and counterparts at the Indian Institute of Technologies would like to welcome the launch for the university network with Indo US global challenges to federal Spark, new research partnerships and exchanges in fields including agriculture, energy and health,” said the official.

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