Bengaluru, India – Bill Nelson, the NASA Administrator, paid a visit to Antariksh Bhavan in Bengaluru, where he held a crucial meeting with the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Secretary of the Department of Space (DOS), Mr. Somanath S. The meeting participants included senior members from ISRO/DOS, NASA, and the US Consulate in Chennai.
During the meeting, the Chairman of ISRO, Mr. Somanath S., welcomed Nelson and acknowledged the longstanding collaboration between NASA and ISRO in various space endeavors. He highlighted key milestones, including the launch of the first sounding rocket from India, the discovery of hydroxyl molecules on the Moon by Chandrayaan-1, and the upcoming joint mission, NISAR. Mr. Somanath also briefed the attendees on the Indian government’s efforts to facilitate the involvement of private entities in national space activities through space sector reforms.
Nelson congratulated ISRO and India for reaching the near south pole of the Moon, making them the first to achieve this remarkable feat. He expressed NASA’s satisfaction with the partnership, which has spanned several years, and eagerly anticipated the data from the upcoming NISAR mission, emphasizing its potential for the benefit of humankind.
The discussions between the two space agencies also explored future collaboration opportunities beyond NISAR, including potential involvement in programs like Gaganyaan. Both sides recognized the importance of enhanced interactions among the scientific, academic, and industrial communities for the mutual advancement of space exploration.
NASA Administrator Nelson and Chairman Somanath S. visited the ISRO’s UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC). They had the opportunity to witness the final integration and testing activities of the NISAR satellite, a collaborative effort between ISRO and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers.
Nelson also engaged with the NASA/JPL engineers working at URSC for NISAR activities, underlining the depth of collaboration between the two space agencies. The visit concluded with both leaders and Wg Cdr (Rtrd.) Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian Cosmonaut, interacting with the ISRO/DOS community.
The visit reaffirmed the strong partnership between NASA and ISRO and allowed continued collaboration in future space missions and exploration initiatives.