02:46 GMT +322 September 2018
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    India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-39, carrying IRNSS-1H navigation satellite, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, August 31, 2017

    India, Japan Set to Boost Space Cooperation

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    A successful lunar mission by India and Japan could put both countries in the esteemed league of the United States, Russia and China.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's upcoming visit to India starting Wednesday is expected to set the pace for greater cooperation between the two countries, especially in the aerospace sector.

    Indian private companies have already expressed keen interest in forging collaborations with the Japanese counterparts. TeamIndus, a Bengaluru-based private aerospace company, which gained global attention due to its participation in Google's Lunar XPRIZE competition, has joined hands with Japan to launch India's first private spacecraft to the moon in March 2018.

    Indian launch vehicle PSLV-XL will carry Japanese rover Sorato and Indian rover ECA. It will be the first time a private entity will undertake robotic space exploration mission. The main engines are reportedly being sourced from Japan's IHI Aerospace and Sorato rover is developed by iSpace Tokyo.

    The spacecraft will be injected from the PSLV into an orbit of 800km above the surface of the earth. After entering the orbit the spacecraft will set on the way to the moon by switching on its own engines and both the rovers would be disposed of after the spacecraft lands on the lunar surface on Mare Imbrium.

    Experts in India view this endeavor as one that heralds bigger opportunities in the long run.

    "For now, it is only two private sector companies from India and Japan that are involved with ISRO's involvement confined to the launch. But, it should become a precursor to long term space cooperation with both private and public sector enterprises involved. Japan is a leader in technology and enjoys considerable trust in India and is collaborating in many spheres," Group Captain (Retd.) Ajey Lele, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, and head of its Centre for Strategic Technologies told Sputnik.

    Big Indian entrepreneurs like Ratan Tata, Nandan Nilekani and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw are backing the TeamIndus in this mission to the moon.

     

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