Russian President Medvedev Sees Deeper Cooperation With India in Space

The Russian President’s website has the transcript of an interview that Dmitry Medvedev recently gave to The Times of India. He talks about deepening Russo-Indian cooperation in a broad range of areas, including space.  Cooperating in space will take the form of lunar exploration, space science, human spaceflight, and the GLONASS satellite navigation system.

An excerpt from the interview follows after the break.

QUESTION: India and Russia have a plan to jointly launch a spacecraft to the moon. What progress has been achieved in that area of cooperation? When will the Chandrayaan-2 artificial lunar satellite reach the moon’s orbit? And what are the areas where Russia, which has a great outer space experience, collaborates with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Our cooperation with India in exploration and peaceful uses of outer space has a long history. Suffice it to recall the first Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma made his spaceflight as a crew member of Soyuz T-11 as early as 1984.

Our countries have come a long way since then. Today, India has its own space launch site and is able to launch artificial satellites all by itself. However, we continue to collaborate in this area. The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft project that you mentioned is carried out within the framework of the agreement between the ISRO and the Russian Federal Space Agency on joint lunar exploration. The parties have agreed recently to add an Indian mini moon rover to the spacecraft which is to be launched in 2013.

We continue to cooperate in the area of human space flights as well. As far as I know, the Indian side is particularly interested in the Russian components for life-support and thermal control systems to be used at Indian spacecraft.

As part of the agreement between the ISRO and the Russian Federal Space Agency on cooperation in solar physics, we launched last year the CORONAS-Photon spacecraft.

The exploration of outer space makes it possible not only to carry out important scientific research but also to implement commercially viable programmes. The latter include undoubtedly joint use of the Russia-designed GLONASS satellite navigation system. The matter to address is now to launch production of equipment for end-users, and for this purpose we intend to set up a joint venture with India.