Civil Space cooperation between India and US is a significant aspect of the emerging high technology and strategic cooperation between the two countries. This is one of the areas identified under the now completed Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP)
and has advanced through discussions within the ambit of the India-US High Technology Cooperation Group and the India-US Space Conference in June 2004 in Bangalore. With a view to expand further the scope of cooperation, a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Civil
Space Cooperation has been established and it held its first meeting at Bangalore in June 2005. The next meeting of the JWG is expected later this year. The JWG serves as a permanent platform for joint review and formulation of policy, for monitoring and review
of joint programmes and to create, establish and modify mechanisms for smooth collaboration in the field of civil space cooperation between both the countries.
In an important step forward and one that opens up a wide array of opportunities on both sides for cooperation in outer space exploration, US has authorized its entities for export of two US scientific instruments enabling their inclusion in the first Indian
instrumented lunar mission Chandrayaan-1. These two US instruments are - (1) Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar to map the polar landscape and deposits of water ice in these cold traps up to a depth of a few metres and (2) a Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) to
assess the mineral resources of the Moon and to characterise and map the composition of the surface at high spatial resolution. These NASA funded instruments were selected from 16 firm proposals from all over the globe received by ISRO against its announcement
of opportunity and are expected to contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge about the moon. Towards this end, ISRO and NASA have formulated two MoUs which define the scope of the experiments and sharing of responsibilities and data.
Further, to facilitate the launching of US licensed satellites and also foreign satellites carrying US controlled items, as envisaged under the NSSP, a Technology Safeguard Agreement has now been mutually agreed to safeguard protected technologies of the
either side associated with such a mission.
The two sides continue to explore the possibilities of cooperation in earth observation, satellite navigation and its application, space science, natural hazards research and disaster management support, and space education