The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and French National Space Agency (CNES) are going to team up for future inter-planetary missions to Mars, Venus and other planets as well as and aerobraking technologies for planetary exploration.
The two space agencies have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last month to collaborate on inter-planetary missions.
As per the vision document, ISRO and CNES will work together on autonomous navigation of rovers in Moon, Mars, and other planets, aero-braking technologies for planetary exploration and modeling of Mars and Venus atmosphere and inflatable systems for Venus exploration.
A CNES official said that they want to shift their focus on Venus as the planet still remains under-explored as compared to Mars. He noted that the Indian space agency has already confirmed this priority for them. Furthermore, the two space entities are also holding discussions about the future Indian Mars mission.
The official said that CNES could be involved in defining the scientific goals and preparatory studies for ISRO’s the future planetary missions and both agencies will study the possibility of sending France made science instruments on board the future interplanetary Indian missions.
India has already sent successful inter-planetary missions, ‘Chandrayaan-I’ to Moon and ‘Mangalyaan’ to Mars. The space agency’s third mission Chandrayaan-II is expected to be launched towards the end of this year. The ISRO chairman Dr. K Sivan has made it clear that no foreign space agencies will be involved in its Chandrayaan-2 mission.
“Currently, there is no plan for collaboration with CNES for this mission. However, we may consider joint cooperation with CNES for the MOM-2 mission later,” Dr. Sivan said.
Notably, the Indo-French cooperation is more than six decades old. India has taken help from France in developing the advanced cryogenic engine and also launching the heavy satellites of ISRO. India is also going to launch the Gsat-11 communication satellite from the French Guiana spaceport in June 2018.