The US is interested in forming a working group with India for its human space mission programme, former NASA administrator Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden Jr. said on Friday. Bolden, the US science envoy for space, said the two countries share a robust relationship in the area of space and have formed working groups to further cooperation in the arena. Earlier, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Sivan said that the preparations for the Gaganyaan Mission are underway and the organisation is targeting for two unmanned missions to space in December 2020 and 2021.
Responding to a question at an interaction at the Observer Research Foundation on whether the two sides were also collaborating for the human space project, Bolden said, "I think, (ISRO Chairman) Dr (K) Sivan is communicating with (NASA) administrator (Jim) Bridenstine. He would like to propose that they form another working group singularly on human space programme."
He said over the last few years, the US had been nudging India to get into the human space project, but "they weren't just ready at that time".
Bolden said now that India has taken a decision in this regard, ISRO has been engaging with multiple players to collaborate on the mission.
Speaking at another interactive session organised by FICCI, Bolden said that his primary role as a private citizen was to encourage international space collaboration and to build upon the robust cooperation between US and Indian scientists and space engineers.
He dwelt on topics ranging from commercialisation of space exploration, challenges facing space policy, space engineering and international space law.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), he said, could help train Indian astronauts, undertake space missions of ISRO and share its expertise and training facilities.
"It's all about shared risks and shared rewards," said a FICCI statement quoting Bolden.
A human-rated GSLV Mk-lll will carry the orbital module to ensure sustention of the 3-member crew for seven days. Gaganyaan Mission is expected to establish a broader framework for collaboration between ISRO, academia, industry, national agencies and other scientific organisations. Scientists say Gaganyaan has huge potential to spinoff technologies in areas such as medicine, agriculture, industrial safety, pollution, waste management, water and food resource management etc.