Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boeing Explores Avenues With Indian Space Research Organization


Aerospace Daily & Defense Report Feb 18 , 2010 , p. 05
Neelam Mathews

NEW DELHI — Boeing will hold discussions with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to view areas of common interest that could lead to future business opportunities, according to Roger Krone, president of Boeing Network and Space Systems.

For the moment, the scope of partnership is limited, as the civil space cooperation agreement between India and the U.S. has yet to be signed.

“[Boeing] and ISRO will start discussions on commercial technology for low Earth orbit,” Krone told Aerospace Daily this week at the sixth land and naval systems biannual DefExpo here. “We will start with componentry. We’re taking a long-term view of the Indian market that is likely to include hosted payloads, weather sats, human space flights work on small sats and nanos, training and collaboration with industry.”

The talks are being held in the background following the U.S. government’s 2005 approval of a license authorizing Boeing to collaborate with ISRO to build a next-generation INSAT spacecraft.

An INSAT satellite typically weighs about 4,400 pounds and orbits nearly 22,500 miles above the Earth. Boeing was to have provided 33 transponders and other instruments to ISRO to help design newer versions.

The U.S.-Indian Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) agreement of January 2004 was envisioned to allow the Indian launch of U.S.-licensed satellites and third-party satellites with controlled U.S. items onboard, but NSSP was declared concluded in July 2005.

The original deal was reached even as ISRO and many of its subsidiaries remained on the United States’ export restriction list. Soon after, Boeing pulled out of its collaboration on INSAT. Krone says he has no insight into why the agreement was not signed.

“We would like to see governments come to agreement,” Krone said. “More countries can now participate in the International Space Station [ISS], which will be in orbit until 2020.” A broader international use of that asset would be positive, he said.

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