India and France are working on their third joint satellite mission, even as the bilateral space partnership expands into new areas, including the human spaceflight program, according to ISRO Chairman K Sivan.
Sivan, who is also secretary in the department of space, stated that many French businesses are eager to capitalize on opportunities created by the government’s recent reforms in the space industry.
“France is India’s largest space partner,” he said on Friday at the department of science and technology golden jubilee discourse on ‘unlocking India’s space potential – geospatial data and mapping,’ an event presented in virtual mode by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication and ‘vigyan prasar.’
According to ISRO officials, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) have launched two joint missions, ‘Megha-Tropiques’ in 2011 and ‘SARAL-Altika’ in 2013.
“Right now, we’re working on the third one (mission),” Sivan explained. Officials said ISRO and CNES have completed the feasibility study to realise the earth observation satellite mission with thermal infrared imager, TRISHNA (Thermal infraRed Imaging Satellite for High resolution Natural resource Assessment) and are working towards finalising an implementing arrangement for the joint development.
Sivan said India is also working with France on joint experiments and accommodation of scientific instruments in space missions.
“Indo-French space collaboration is expanding into multiple domains including space exploration and human space flight programme,” he said.