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Hearty Congratulations to the People of India for the Lunar Victory of Chandrayaan-3

India’s historic lunar landing was celebrated with a unique and culturally resonant gesture from the United States, a longstanding partner in space collaborations. The US congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Hindi for this monumental achievement.

“India ke logon ko, Chandrayaan 3 ke Vikram lander ka chaand ki satah par kamyabi se utarne par dil se badhai,” flowed the heartfelt message in chaste Hindi from the United States. Translated, it congratulates the people of India on the successful landing of the Vikram Lander from the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission on the moon’s South Pole.

India and the US have built a strong partnership in space exploration, with both governments agreeing to work closely in spaceflight. This collaboration has evolved from initial apprehension to a robust alliance, driving the development of India’s space program.

Recently, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti, in his keynote address at the ‘US-India Commercial Space Conference: Unlocking Opportunities for US Industry and Indian Space Startups’, emphasized the growing space cooperation between the two nations. The conference, held in Bengaluru, focused on joint space exploration, satellite launches, and astronaut training.

During his visit to Bengaluru, Ambassador Garcetti met with space sector business leaders and entrepreneurs to highlight the strong economic and commercial ties between Washington and New Delhi. Along with US Consul General Chris Hodges, he also met ISRO Chairman S. Somanath to discuss collaborations, including the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar mission (NISAR). Garcetti announced the upcoming launch of the NISAR satellite from ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre to monitor Earth’s resources.

The US will soon provide advanced training to Indian astronauts for a joint mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which could happen this year or shortly thereafter. This collaboration is expected to create jobs in the space sector and advance technological innovation.

According to the US embassy, Ambassador Garcetti’s visit underscored the shared commitment of the United States and India to leverage technology and innovation for societal progress, laying the foundation for enhanced collaboration and strategic partnerships in commercial space exploration.

Atul Keshap, President of the United States-India Business Council (USIBC), described this collaboration as a new chapter in US-India space partnership. USIBC Managing Director Alexander Slater highlighted the importance of strategic partnerships in driving innovation.

The US-India space relationship dates back to the inception of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962. Engineers and scientists from INCOSPAR (now ISRO) were trained at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Centre and Wallops Island facility for sounding rocket launches. India’s first launch of a US-manufactured sounding rocket took place in 1963 from Thumba, Kerala.

Over the next 12 years, India, with assistance from the US and other nations, built and launched over 350 sounding rockets from Thumba. This early collaboration paved the way for significant achievements in meteorology and atmospheric research.

INCOSPAR evolved into ISRO in 1969, and the 1970s saw the ISRO-NASA Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE), which beamed television programs to over 2,400 villages in India. This program led to the development of India’s own multipurpose communications satellite, the Indian National Satellite (INSAT), now the largest domestic communication system in the Asia-Pacific region.

The collaboration continued with India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, in 2008, which included scientific instruments from international partners, including NASA. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory supported ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), demonstrating effective collaboration on complex challenges.

In 2015, India launched a rocket carrying a US satellite for the first time. The two nations also share a cooperative relationship in weather systems and applications, maintaining a long-standing data-sharing agreement.

Despite ups and downs, the US-India space cooperation has flourished, driven by global challenges and threats. This partnership benefits India and positions the US with a strong ally in space against China.

Recently, senior defense officials from both nations met in Washington for the second annual US-India Advanced Domains Defense Dialogue (AD3) to discuss strengthening space cooperation and potential collaboration with US industry. The dialogue reinforced their commitment to advancing AD3 through regular discussions and engagements with various US defense entities.

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