Australia to temporarily host ISRO’s satellite tracking facilities.
- In a show of deepening civil space cooperation between India and Australia, the Australian space agency will temporarily set up an Indian positioning system in the country.
- This will help India to track its human space flight when it is launched.
- India’s Gaganyaan mission aims to send an Indian to space by 2022 and the hosting of tracking facilities will give a boost to the efforts of ISRO.
- At Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, the Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology said that the Indian Space Flight Programme will be a great opportunity for both countries to collaborate and cooperate in earth observation, data analytics, space life sciences and robotics.
- The Minister noted that India would become only the fourth country in the world to send a crew to space.
- With the cooperation, the space agencies of both the countries as well as the industry and research organisations will have significant opportunities.
- The Australia-India space cooperation became formal by the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement in 2012.
- Since 1987, both the countries have been collaborating in space efforts with Australia helping India in data calibration and laser raging for Indian satellites and India launching Australian satellites and undertaking joint research.
- The cooperation strengthened further when both the countries elevated their bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).
- With the CSP, the countries entered into formal agreements in space cooperation, cybersecurity, emerging technologies and critical minerals.
- The Minister also announced that the Australia-India research fund has been extended to another four years and the budget has been increased to $15 million.
- The fund will facilitate cooperation between researchers on strategically focused, leading-edge science and technology projects.
- The fund has been in operation since 2006 and is Australia’s largest bilateral science programme.
- Since 2006, Australia has committed nearly $100 million through the fund.
- Both countries have also concluded a framework arrangement on cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology cooperation.
- With the framework, both countries will collaborate to promote and preserve an open, free, safe and secure Internet.