NASA to train Indian astronaut for ISS voyage in deepening space ties

By Nivedita Bhattacharjee

BENGALURU (Reuters) - NASA will train an Indian astronaut for a voyage to the International Space Station as early as next year, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Wednesday, amid deepening space ties between India and the United States.

"There is an opportunity to share science," Nelson said, speaking at an event in Bengaluru, where he is due to inspect the NISAR satellite on Thursday.

NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) is a low-Earth orbit observatory system jointly developed by NASA and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). Roughly the size of an SUV, the satellite is set to be launched from India in the first quarter of next year, with a target launch set for January.

NISAR will map the entire planet once every 12 days, providing data for understanding changes in ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, ground water and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.

India is aiming to increase its share of the global satellite launch market fivefold within the next decade and agreed to join NASA's Artemis Accords in June this year.