India has now set its eyes on a mission to Venus and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), will be undertaking the mission in 2025. France has agreed to be part of the mission, the first time a French payload will be carried on an Indian space exploration mission. ISRO’s Venus instrument, VIRAL (Venus Infrared Atmospheric Gases Linker) has been co-developed by Russian and French agencies.
What is ISRO? The Indian Space Research Organisation is the national space agency of India, headquartered in Bengaluru. It operates under Department of Space (DoS) which is directly overseen by the prime minister of India, while chairman of ISRO acts as executive of DoS as well. ISRO is the primary agency in India to perform tasks related to space based applications, space exploration, and development of related technologies. It possess full launch capabilities, deploy cryogenic engines, launch extra-terrestrial missions, and operate large fleets of artificial satellites
France and India have a longstanding partnership for peaceful uses of outer space. Space cooperation and collaboration have profoundly marked the relationship between the two countries, which have emerged as major space nations.
·Space cooperation between France and India began in the 1960s when India purchased licenses for the Centaure and Bélier launch complexes as well as French technical assistance for building the Sriharikota launch pad.
·The first cooperation agreement was signed in 1977.
·In 2008, an Indo-French MoU was signed for exploration and the peaceful use of space in order to set up joint research programmes, instruments and satellites.
·The first Indo-French satellite for climate studies, Megha-Tropiques was launched on 12th October 2011.
·A second satellite for oceanographic studies, SARAL, was launched on 25th February 2013.
·In 2018 France and India concluded the Joint Vision for Space Cooperation. Its various aspects included the societal impact of space technologies, space surveillance and situation assessment, response to global challenges such as climate change, and development of technologies for human exploration of the universe.
Now, ISRO and CNES are also working together on India’s first crewed space mission, Gaganyaan, scheduled for launch in 2022. France has reportedly agreed to train Indian flight surgeons, essentially Indian Air Force doctors working on aviation medicine and those responsible for the astronauts’ health before, during and after the space mission.