On Thursday, space agencies of India and France signed an agreement for cooperation for the former’s first human space mission, Gaganyaan, a move that will enable Indian flight physicians to instruct at French facilities.
French space agency CNES said under the agreement, equipment developed by it, tested and still operating aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will be made convenient to Indian crews.
The CNES will also be contributing fireproof carry bags made in France to shield equipment from shocks and radiation, it said. The agreement was publicized during French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s visit to the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) headquarters in Bengaluru.
ISRO has asked CNES to help prepare for the Gaganyaan mission and to serve as its single European contact in this domain, the French space agency said.
“Under the terms of the agreement, CNES will train India’s flight physicians and CAPCOM mission control teams in France at the CADMOS centre for the development of microgravity applications and space operations at CNES in Toulouse and at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany,” the CNES said.
France and India share robust ties in the area of space cooperation. The first space agreement between France and India dates back to 1964. Existing partnerships between the two nations cover almost all areas of space activity. ISRO will also be inaugrate the joint Oceansat 3-Argos mission this year.
In March 2018, India and France had unveiled a joint vision for space cooperation. The two nations have also agreed to work on inter-planetary missions to Mars and Venus.
India has already signed an agreement with Russia for the training of four astronauts who have been shortlisted for the Gaganyaan mission. Additionally, it is also in talks with Australia to have a ground station at Cocos Islands for the Gaganyaan mission.