Australia, Netherlands keen to collaborate with ISRO

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
Chennai Published: Sep 14, 2021, 03:20 PM(IST)

ISRO Chief K Sivan Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

ISRO would also be launching two satellites that are meant to provide communications, tracking support for its human-carrying spacecraft known as IDRSS(Indian Data Relay System Satellites).

Top officials of the Australian and Dutch Space agencies expressed interest in collaborating and working closely with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). 

While the two countries have had several decades of experience in the field of space technology, it was only over the last decade that they formally established their respective Space Agencies. It is noteworthy that, unlike India, Australia and Netherlands don’t yet have a standalone, independent space-faring programme and that they work with other agencies and countries to jointly perform missions. 

The representatives of the foreign space agencies spoke at the inaugural session on "Building NewSpace in India" at the international space conference.

According to Mr. Anthony Murfett, deputy head, Australian Space Agency(ASA), space would be a key part of Australia’s focus areas in the years to come. The plan involves startups and businesses and their solutions to transform agriculture, disaster management among other areas. The ASA, which was established nearly three years ago is looking for domestic and international collaborations for the same. 

“The Australian government is proud to be supporting the Gaganyaan mission, by tracking through Australia’s territory on the Coco’s (Keeling) islands. It shows that Australia can be a trusted partner - we were a partner to NASA during the Apollo missions, we were a partner to Japan during Hayabusa 1&2 and now we’re working with India on Gaganyaan mission” said Murfett. 

ISRO would also be launching two satellites that are meant to provide communications, tracking support for its human-carrying spacecraft known as IDRSS(Indian Data Relay System Satellites).

The satellites would be placed nearly 36,000km above the equator(where it would remain in sync with Earth’s rotation or geostationary orbit) and will offer near-total tracking and communication with India’s space assets.

In addition to space-based tracking, there would be ground-based and floating platforms(ships) that would be used to track Gaganyaan as it orbits the Earth.

Citing immense opportunities for industries to collaborate, the Australian Space official said that ASA and ISRO had recently updated their Memorandum of Understanding to underscore the stronger bilateral relationship.

“Australia is looking to invest and also be a partner and facilitator of business to transform the economy and also through regulation. We are establishing facilities to test space hardware in Australia, the official added. 

The Netherlands Space Office(NSO), the Dutch Space agency also expressed interest in greater collaboration with ISRO.

Representing the agency, Deputy Director, Mr Nico van Putten said that though NSO was formally established in 2009, it was among the founding members of the European Space Agency, over four decades ago.

“Between the Netherlands and India air quality monitoring is an area of cooperation and there is massive data collection by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) on the Sentinel-5P mission, that was launched in 2017. More than 50% of the Netherlands is below sea-level so we are interested in water and agriculture and it is one of our specifics” Van Putten said.

Putten also shared images of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) monitoring over India that showcased the difference in pollution levels between pre-pandemic and pandemic lockdown last year.

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