Expo 2020 Dubai: India to strengthen space partnerships with United Arab Emirates, ISRO officials say


(L to R) R. Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Dr Sam Dayal Dev, Director, ISRO Inertial Systems Unit at the press conference at the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Sunday
Image Credit: Provided

Dubai: India and the United Arab Emirates will continue to have stronger space collaborations, a senior scientist from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said on Sunday at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Discussions are underway between the two countries on various collaborative projects, revealed R. Umamaheswaran, scientific secretary of ISRO.

What’s on the table?

In an interview with Gulf News after a press conference held as part of the ‘Space Week’ celebrations at the India Pavilion, the space scientist said: ‘There are discussions regarding the efforts of collaboration such as ground stations or earth stations, exchange of detection data, etc. A discussion is also underway on carrying out a joint experiment on collecting data on aerosols in the upper atmosphere. There will be more collaborative efforts [between the two countries]. “

The United Arab Emirates’ stellar missions

Congratulating the UAE Space Agency for the country’s remarkable achievements in the recent past, he said: “We really appreciate and recognize the enthusiasm, commitment and passion the UAE has shown in the sector. spatial. They sent astronauts into space and reached Mars in no time. We are also proud of the UAE’s space achievements. “

Speaking about India’s long-standing relationship with the United Arab Emirates, he said, “I remember a few years ago the United Arab Emirates wanted a sounding rocket experiment to be carried out and we did it for them in Thiruvananthapuram. [capital of the southern Kerala state in India]. “

A sounding rocket is an unmanned rocket designed to probe atmospheric conditions and structure at heights beyond the reach of airplanes but impractical to explore using artificial satellites.

The United Arab Emirates appointing former ISRO President K. Radhakrishnan as an advisor to the Space Agency speaks volumes about our close ties. We are proud that he served this country for a few years, ”said Umamaheswaran.

Welcome investment

He said India had invited Indian companies based in the UAE to invest in its space programs.

“The new IDE [Foreign Direct Investment] policy will make this an attractive scenario for foreign investors who wish to invest in India. Definitely, things are much brighter than in the past.

Private sector actors, especially Indian companies, have been invited to invest in the space sector for “Made in India” space projects. However, they should not expect a return on investment in the immediate future, as space projects take a long time to produce results, he stressed.

“Some people have started to invest, but not in a big way like Elon Musk does. I need to find someone like Elon Musk who can inject so much into the space sector,” he said with a laugh.

Expo 2020 Dubai is seen as a global platform for India to project its space sector and ISRO officials will meet their counterparts from the UAE and other countries during the Week of the space, Umamaheswaran said.

Technology transfer, awareness programs

He said that ISRO currently has new policies that allow technology transfer through NSIL (New Space India Limited), the commercial arm of ISRO.

Highlighting ISRO’s educational outreach programs, the senior scientist said international students, including those from the United Arab Emirates, can join initiatives such as UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly and Training) launched by the president of the ‘ISRO, Dr K. Sivan. The capacity building training program provides hands-on training in manufacturing small satellites.

First manned mission

Indian space scientists are now focused on the prestigious Gaganyaan project, India’s first manned space mission, and its first unmanned launch is expected to take place in Q2 2022 after the delay due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. , said ISRO’s space secretary.

In the recent past India has carried out various missions such as putting 104 satellites into orbit in a single mission and successfully completing complex missions like the Mangalyaan at a fraction of the cost of similar missions carried out by other countries.

In line with these achievements, Space Week at the India Pavilion will organize sessions on the Future of International Space-Participations and Collaborations; Space for start-ups: endless opportunities in space; Space 2030: Space for sustainable businesses; and Strengthening research capacities and opportunities.

Revise policies

Also on Sunday, the Indian space chief said India was reviewing its existing policies and was also in the process of adopting new ones to increase industry participation in the space sector.

Dr K. Sivan, President of ISRO and Secretary of the Department of Space, virtually addressed the inaugural session on “The Future of Space – International Participations and Collaborations” at the India Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai.

International collaboration

In his video message, Dr Sivan pointed out that space is one of the important areas India is considering for international cooperation. “I hope that space cooperation will be further strengthened with commercial and technological collaborations,” he said, adding that Indian industry should play an important role in the space sector on a global scale.

Sector reforms

Highlighting reforms in the sector, Dr Sivan said the government is open to inviting private actors in the space sector and ISRO partnering with start-ups and industries. “India is focused on international collaborations, including bilateral and multilateral partnerships. “

Dr Sivan also appreciated the Indo-UAE engagement in space and collaborations with ISRO in space applications.

He said Indian industry will play an important role in the space sector as start-up participation increases in the future. He also stressed the need to make outer space safe and that “it is a collective responsibility of government and non-governmental agencies to ensure this. ISRO will support all international collaborations that benefit humanity ”.

Launch more missions

Virtually delivering the opening speech, Dr Pawan Goenka, president of India’s National Center for Space Promotion and Authorization (IN-SPACe), said India aspires to launch a dozen missions each year, up from four or currently five.

He also added that the country is working on a reusable launcher and advanced applications. “India will also offer private services to other countries and cooperate with international agencies to develop innovative missions with profitable and agile launchers. A new India is emerging in the space sector, ”said Dr Goenka.


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