NASA Chief Bill Nelson’s Visit To India Highlights Collaboration and Progress

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India’s space technology achievements have been a subject of global recognition, with several notable milestones positioning the country as a key player in the space exploration domain. In this context, the visit of NASA Chief Bill Nelson to India yesterday (Monday, November 27) marked a significant event.

Nelson’s trip, which was to include meetings in the United Arab Emirates, focused on reviewing the progress of joint space projects between India and the United States, including the ambitious NISAR mission. NISAR, the first spacecraft in NASA’s Earth Observatory System being jointly developed by NASA and ISRO, represents a pivotal collaboration in space technology. This visit underscored the growing importance of India in the global space arena and highlighted the potential for further advancements and cooperative efforts in space exploration and technology.

India’s space technology sector, particularly among startups, has experienced a remarkable surge in investment and development in recent years. Between 2010 and 2019, Indian space tech startups collectively raised US $35 million in funding, a figure that increased to US $28 million in 2020 alone. This upward trajectory continued with $96 million in 2021 and an impressive US $112 million in 2022, as reported by Tracxn, a provider of intelligence on private markets. By August of this year, the sector had already attracted US $62 million in funding.

These startups are not just accumulating capital but are also at the forefront of innovation, working on diverse technologies ranging from hyperspectral imaging and 3D-printed rocket engines to satellite propulsion systems and the development of sustainable, less toxic rocket fuels. This growth in the Indian space tech industry underscores the country’s burgeoning potential and capability in the global space technology arena.

Featured image: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson gives remarks after Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Sandhu signed the Artemis Accords, Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington.
Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls

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