India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have signed seven agreements, four of which are space-related, during an historic meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
Marking the first ever visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, PM Modi’s visit coincides with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
During this 3-day visit, several agreements have already been signed, mainly related to science, technology and defense. A joint statement has also been publicly issued by India and Israel, reaffirming their commitment to collaboration.
The four space-related agreements are:
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for establishing the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund (I4F).
Signed between the Department of Science & Technology, India, and National Technological Innovation Authority, Israel, the fund will required a contribution of US$ 20 million from each side. This MoU hopes to establish joint R&D projects between Indian and Israeli enterprises, resulting in innovative technologies and products for commercial applications. R&D in the space industry will also fall under the fund’s umbrella.
A Plan of Cooperation Between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) for atomic clocks
This plan comes after the failure of 3 ISRO atomic clocks on one of the satellites of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), earlier this year. To remedy this issue, a replacement ISRO satellite is slated for launch in late 2017. On the other hand, Israel’s ability to develop advanced atomic clocks has been proven, with Israeli company AccuBeat’s atomic clocks currently being used on the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Galileo constellation.
MoU between ISRO and ISA regarding cooperation in GEO-LEO Optical Link
Research by the two space agencies will most probably be related to a new grid network that connects satellites in the Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) and the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for the purposes of communication. Currently being worked on by various space programmes, the proposed network will improve communications services in remote or high-risk areas, and will most likely work in tandem with 6G mobile networks in future.
MoU between ISRO and ISA regarding cooperation in Electric Propulsion for Small Satellites
At the moment, ISRO is one of the most competitive and reliable launch service providers in the world for small satellites; this year, a few Israeli-owned nanosatellites have already been launched by ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket. Perhaps, this agreement is intended to boost both nations’ competitiveness in the burgeoning small satellite and new space markets.
In the joint statement issued by the two nations, both leaders welcomed the ongoing cooperation between ISA and ISRO and encouraged the two Space Agencies to further enhance the growing relationship for mutual benefit.