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India, France sign agreements on space cooperation

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Chairman ISRO/Antrix Dr G Madhavan Nair and French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner signs agreement on peaceful use of space Sept 30 in the presence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and President Nicolas Sarkozy

NEW DELHI (BNS): India and France have significantly stepped up their historic cooperation in space technology with three major agreements between the two sides. The agreements were signed as part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ongoing state visit to France.

The agreements in the field of space address issues at governmental, academic and industry levels, ISRO said in a statement.

The first agreement is a framework agreement on cooperation between the two governments in the field of exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes such as joint research and development activities, instrumentation for satellites, development of small satellites, study of weather and climate change using earth observation satellites and the development of ground infrastructure for satellite programmes.

The second is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Institute of Space science and Technology (IIST) of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) and Ecole Polytechnique (EP), Paris for furthering collaboration in academics and research activities involving students and professionals.

The third is an agreement signed by Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman of ISRO and its commercial arm Antrix, and Francois Auque, CEO of Astrium. The agreement will help in Astrium offering attractive solutions in the international markets for in-orbit delivery of its earth observation satellites using the PSLV launch services from Antrix/ISRO.

In the past 5 years, the two companies have together bagged two commercial projects-- two telecommunication satellite contracts, W2M for Eutelsat and HYLAS for Avanti Systems.

The ISRO said in a statement, “These agreements are expected to boost the relationship between the two countries in the area of space and encourage further cooperation.”

India and France have been partners in space technology for several decades. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French National Space Agency CNES (Centre National d'Études Spatiales) have been pursuing co-operative programme successfully since 1993. The cooperation has resulted in joint satellite missions like Megha-Tropiques and SARAL to study the atmosphere and oceans. In addition, many commercial and collaborative activities, specifically in the launch services area, space applications and academics are being pursued with France, ISRO said.

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