France has offered India its expertise in space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support and radiation protection
for India’s proposed manned space mission, a French space official said on Thursday. “As France has already developed the required technologies and applications for a manned space mission, a working group will be set up for us (France) to share its expertise in space medicine, astronaut health monitoring and others,” President of French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) Jean-Yves Le Gall told IANS.
Gall, along with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan, announced the countries’ intention to work together on India’s proposed human spaceflight “Gaganyaan” by 2022. It was announced on the occasion of the 6th edition of biennial Bengaluru Space Expo, touted to be the largest space conference in Asia, being held in this tech hub from September 6-8. The French-Indian working group which will be formed will exchange expertise in the fields of astronaut life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems among others.
“Engineering teams have already begun discussions and it is envisioned that infrastructures for the development of microgravity applications will be used for training of future Indian astronauts,” a statement from CNES said. CNES will be sharing its expertise acquired from the French human spaceflights of Thomas Pesquet’s Proxima mission in November 2016, when the European Space Agency’s (ESA) astronaut Pesquet was on a six-month mission at the International Space Station. Pesquet had conducted 50 scientific experiments for ESA and CNES. The partnership between CNES and ISRO will also allow the French space agency to learn from India’s developments in the field of crew transport, Gall said.
The Indo-French space cooperation has been across the fields of climate monitoring, joint groups working on future launch vehicles, deep-space exploration with France contributing to India’s future missions to Mars, Venus and asteroids. At a time when the world is facing several natural disasters, like the recent devastating floods in neighbouring Kerala, it is the role of space agencies to monitor climate actions, Gall said addressing the conference.
“The recent dramatic events in Kerala reminded us that monitoring our climate and striving to understand climate change is not just a matter of well-being, but survival,” he said. A French-Indian “Trishna” infrared remote-sensing mission for land monitoring is currently being developed, he said. “In 2019, ISRO will be launching the Oceansat-3 satellite carrying CNES’ ‘Argos’ instrument to collect environmental data and track wildlife,” the official added. The two countries are also holding a study to develop a joint constellation of satellites for maritime domain awareness, Gall said.