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India-U.S. space science meet from tomorrow

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JUNE 19. A India-U.S. conference on `Space Science, its applications and commerce' will be held here between June 21 and 25 and it will be inaugurated by the Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Prithviraj Chavan, and the U.S. Ambassador to India, David C. Mulford.

Disclosing this at a press conference, the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), G. Madhavan Nair, said that 500 delegates, 150 of them from the U.S., would participate in it. While it was not expected to yield concrete agreements on how and when India could import various components and technologies from the U.S., "we will present our capabilities and they will present their requirements and see if there are areas where cooperation will be of mutual advantage."

Marco Di Capua, science counsellor, U.S. Embassy, said the U.S. wanted to cooperate "big time.'' The Indian space programme had "matured" and had "capabilities it did not have earlier,'' opening up areas such as space imaging, global positioning system (GPS) and remote sensing, ground- augmented air navigation and software development for bilateral cooperation. Corporate sponsors include aerospace and defence firms such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman Corporation and Raytheon, and J.D. Boda Insurance Brokers. Raytheon's bid to provide sub-systems to an Airport Authority of India-ISRO collaborative project on satellite navigation, named GAGAN, is an example of the type of "cooperation" the American firms may be interested in. The company, which built the GPS for the U.S. military, is one of two main contenders for the project, the other being French Alcatel. Astronauts will participate in a programme to inspire school students, Craig Tiedman from NASA's department of external relations said. Part of the programme will be an interaction with students by former astronaut Rakesh Sharma.

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