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India’s Chandrayaan-1 is a good model for international space collaboration, says US space scientist

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Henry Throop says that US-India has had successful research collaborations and the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft mission where India invited world scientists to join efforts to build its parts has been a perfect example.

A senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, Henry Throop, said that India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter mission that was launched in 2008 is a model for future space collaborations.

“International collaboration allows us to get scientific results that would be impossible otherwise, due to geography, scale, or expertise,” said Throop on Thursday during his talk on US-India collaboration in space technology and science in New Delhi, The Telegraph reported.

Throop has been involved in the New Horizons mission in which the US spacecraft flew past Pluto in July 2015. He said that the two countries have had a history of successful collaborations.

The launch of the US-made Nike Apache rocket from the Indian state of Kerala in 1963 marked the beginning of India’s space programs. Following this, the two countries again joined resources to establish experimental TV service in India, in 1975. Thereupon, India started its satellite-based communications and facilities to observe weather with the help of US-made satellites.

The Indian lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, that was launched in 2008 was “truly international project,” Throop said. The spacecraft was built with instruments from India, Bulgaria, Sweden, the UK and the US. He said that the US-made part on the spacecraft helped locate proofs of water in solid form on the moon, both on its north and south poles.

“This result came about only through collaboration,” Throop said. “The Chandrayaan-1 mission could serve as a model for almost any future space exploration mission.”

He mentioned India’s space facilities that are open to international scientists, for instance, Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope near Pune, Asrostat, a space-based observatory and the Hanle Chandra Telescope in Ladakh.

Throop mentioned about India’s involvement with the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT), which is expected to be built in Hawaii. “India is building key components of the TMT, nearly 70 per cent of India’s contribution is in kind, not just financial support,” he said.