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India and US to Cooperate in Space Exploration 153

Posted by Zonk
from the friends-offworld-and-on dept.
p1234 writes "India and the US plan to cooperate in the exploration and use of outer space. India's first mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, is scheduled to be launched later this year. This is the culmination of long-term planning on both sides of the Atlantic. Apart from India's moon mission, Nair said a probe of Mars by India was very much on the agenda.'Our scientific community would like to see what new things we can find. It is not just for the sake of sending a probe to Mars. Yes, we have an agenda by 2012, by then we should have a Mars mission.'"
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India and US to Cooperate in Space Exploration

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  • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:30PM (#22278186)
    India gets permission to use our moon landing sets in the American desert far from prying eyes :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      India gets permission to use our moon landing sets in the American desert far from prying eyes :)
      Yep you know the one, right next to the secret government weather control complex and the Roswell flying saucer testing facility.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Indian version will be a musical.
  • by owlnation (858981) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:31PM (#22278198)
    Now we are outsourcing NASA?
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Brian Gordon (987471)
      ..to space :)
      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:53PM (#22278826)
        "Bangalore, we have a problem..."

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by supremebob (574732)
          ...and YES, we already tried rebooting it!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yet another propagation of the misquoted phrase.. It was never "Houston, we have a problem;" it was:

          Houston, we've had a problem.

          </pedant>

    • by Joaz Banbeck (1105839) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:03PM (#22278482)
      No, we are cooperating with the Indians because they are the natural opponents of two of our probable future oppoenents: China and Pakistan. Pakistan is most likely to be the source of an islamic nuclear bomb, and China is on track to become a true superpower to contest the US like Russia did in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
      This is Machiavellian geopolitics. Having a friend on the Asian continent will be useful much like having Israel for a friend in the Mid-east.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @11:37PM (#22279530)

        Having a friend on the Asian continent will be useful much like having Israel for a friend in the Mid-east.
        Gee, I sure hope not.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by PHPfanboy (841183)
          Yeah, you're right.

          Stick with the Saudi's, they make a good market for your multi-billion dollar defense deals and keep your dollar high. Unfortunately they don't tend to show off the fireworks for your enemies' buddies to covet and last time they publicly demonstrated the capabilities of American industrial technology, you got a few thousand dead civilians in New York and a recession.

          Better luck with poverty-stricken Egypt, Baathist Syria, little poor Jordan, crumbly Lebanon and war-torn Iraq.
          • Better luck with poverty-stricken Egypt, Baathist Syria, little poor Jordan, crumbly Lebanon and war-torn Iraq.
            All of whom might not be in such dire straits if it weren't for the US's 'friendship' with Israel in the first place. Those billions upon billions of US dollars spent on building up Israel might have been strategically used to make all of those other countries better places. Interesting you didn't mention Dubai, guess it would kind of contradict your rant.
            • by PHPfanboy (841183)
              Sorry, no rant here :-| Those I listed were all Soviet allies prior to 1967 (when US and Israel strategic alignment started in the shape it is today) and have been (with the exception of Lebanon) military dictatorships for the past 40 years. Before then, Israel got most of its arms from France and the UK, so I dispute your claim that Israel is the source of all those countries political, economic and social problems. I'd look at the Sykes-Picot treaty, the division of the Ottoman empire and the invention
              • so I dispute your claim that Israel is the source of all those countries political, economic and social problems.
                Try again. That's not even close to what I said.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nemilar (173603)
        Pakistan is most likely to be the source of an islamic nuclear bomb,

        They are islamic and they do have a bomb already.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          Maybe he meant a bomb which works by compressing Muslims until they reach critical mass? Do they then split into a Jew and a polytheist and emit a high-energy atheist (which then collides with another Muslim causing a chain reaction)?
    • NASA's just planning for when the shuttles wear-out completely and any replacement vehicles have been lost in the cracks.

      Buying rides in India won't be as embarrassing as begging ones in Russia.

    • "Houston, we have a pinkslip!"
         
    • They expect their employers to train them, then they expect these huge salaries starting from their first day in outer space.

      NASA really had no choice. Either NASA had to get around the H1-B laws, or hire illegal alian astronuts. And Sigourney Weaver advised against that.
      • by Tablizer (95088)
        Either NASA had to get around the H1-B laws, or hire illegal alian astronuts.

        Isn't "alien astronaut" an oxymoron? It hurts my nauts to think about that one.
           
  • mutual benefit? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by peektwice (726616)
    Not trying to troll here, but it would seem that India could use our already sizable knowledge of space exploration, and we can use cheap engineers. I wonder if this has anything to do with the general decline in engineering enrollment at US Universities?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      and we can use cheap engineers.

      You must not be a US engineer.
         
      • More to the point, enrollment in engineering and scientific curriculae is not exactly down in the U.S. ... it's enrollment by American citizens that is down. China and India are packing our schools, especially China. What's going to happen once they've sucked us dry of whatever knowledge they feel they need is another story.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Tablizer (95088)
          Studies by the Rand institute and other research organizations have shown there is NO "engineer/sci shortage". Thus, it is a corporate myth that the US is not graduating enough. However, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if offshoring drives down wages in those fields.
             
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Have you ever seen what kind of mathematics is teached in American colleges?

          Math110 has less content than most math classes in the first year of high school in Europe!

          Maybe there are enough US engeeners around, but are they good for anything?

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by maxume (22995)
            Correctin spalling on /./
          • Well, it's true the the primary education system in the U.S. is deficient, but that just means colleges have to provide remedial training.

            Besides, good engineers are the ones that don't depend upon what they learn in school for everything anyways.
        • by samkass (174571)
          I guess the answer to your final question depends on whether we let them stay in the country and work for our economy or deny them H1Bs and send them home to set up outsourcing businesses and improve China's economy.
        • Re:mutual benefit? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @11:59PM (#22279654)
          I have a sweet job at a small biotech startup in Silicon Valley. I was born in Philadelphia and I'm as white as white guys come. So who else works at this company?

          The CEO, the CFO, and one of our principal investors are all from Iran. The CTO, the DBA, and my supervisor are from India. (The CTO is writing a tech book for a well-known publisher; I expect it will be reviewed here in a few months.) The principal database curator, the statistician, and three people on the dev team are Chinese nationals. The product manager is from the former Soviet Union; so is one of the UI devs and our street-smart IT guy. The head of tech support is Indian (OK, technically Canadian); she manages an offshore team of scientists in South America who import data into the system all day. We also just hired two additional Indian employees whom I haven't really met yet.

          And then there are three white guys including me- AFAIK the only U.S. citizens. Maybe a few others are too (I've never really thought about it). Half of the people where I work came from a company that was originally started by another white guy. He lost faith in the future of the United States a few years ago, sold his business to a Fortune 500 corporation here (which promptly mismanaged it into oblivion), and took something like 10 or 20 million dollars back home to Australia.

          I read threads like this one, I watch the news, and I listen to all the bloviating over Iran, over India and China, and it all just seems surreal to me. I wonder what the future holds for this place.
          • I read threads like this one, I watch the news, and I listen to all the bloviating over Iran, over India and China, and it all just seems surreal to me. I wonder what the future holds for this place.

            I have two scenarios.

            1. Soft Landing: The British model. Gradual decline from preeminence, rolling back of military commitments globally. Remains a respected power on the American continent, a strong voice among equals on the global stage, no longer considered a super-power in terms of economy, wealth, standard of living, conventional military, retains strategic nukes to no purpose, like dirt-poor descendants of nobility holding on to useless heirlooms from a happier age.

            2. Hard landing: Post-soviet-style

    • Re:mutual benefit? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by protobion (870000) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:36PM (#22279136) Homepage
      I propose a different perspective. Have any of you actually thought, that all instances of cooperation of the US with China or India may not necessarily involve the other two countries supplying the "cheap labour". If you RTFA, NASA is actually providing 11 instruments to be on board the moon vehicle. No doubt , it will provide its knowledgebase as well. ISRO and NASA have a long history of co-operation.

      Satellites are not launched everyday, moon missions still more infrequently. The usual way to obtain access to space for whatever reasons is often to provide some payload to a party who's going to launch a vehicle anyway. Not too long ago, India launched a military satellite for Israel. What India is providing here, is the excellent satellite launching infrastructure it has due to an active space program. The US space program was always geared towards manned-missions.

      Let me end this rant by saying that developments in all fields do not have to reflect the trends in IT (where India does provide a cheap back-office). It's time people got off the idea that the US always provides the money, the knowledge, while other countries are sources of cheap brainless workers. Appreciate the achievements of others.

      • Seriously, the best reply I've read so far.

      • by khallow (566160)
        I guess my response here is that one needs to consider comparative advantage. It makes sense for India to provide the cheaper labor and the US to supply the knowledge. Because that's where the relative strengths of the two countries are at the moment. Frankly, the IT trend is purely economic and it's foolish to ignore economics especially in something as expensive as space launch services.
  • If India buys some technology and know how from USA, it will help reduce the trade deficit USA has with India. But if NASA sells some of the technology to India, where will it set up the tech support center?
  • by miletus (552448) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:45PM (#22278330)
    Like the previous deals on nuclear power, this is an attempt to bribe India away from getting too friendly with China and Iran, and buying U.S. arms instead of Russian. Science has nothing to do with it.
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      this is an attempt to bribe India away from getting too friendly with China and Iran, and buying U.S. arms instead of Russian.

      India will have the last laugh because they will have bribes and weapons from all three, in the end.
           
    • by a whoabot (706122)
      Something which makes the US a nicer partner for India is that English is a fairly widely understood language in India, whereas neither Russian nor Mandarin are. Beats me how much of a factor that would be, though.
      • Something which makes the US a nicer partner for India is that English is a fairly widely understood language in India, whereas neither Russian nor Mandarin are. Beats me how much of a factor that would be, though.

        Probably not much of one. There are already more people in China who can speak English than there are in the U.S.

        By 2025 China will have more English speakers than the entire rest of the world.
    • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:53PM (#22278814) Journal

      Like the previous deals on nuclear power, this is an attempt to bribe India away from getting too friendly with China and Iran, and buying U.S. arms instead of Russian.

      China and India are likely to be very serious rivals, rather than friends. Both have huge populations, and are developing countries trying to break into high-tech. Being right next to each hurts rather than helps.

      Iran seems an extremely unlikely partner as well. India is an open democracy, with a far freer society, and are not predominately Muslim. I also don't see much that Iran could offer India to begin with, as India is technologically much further along.

      Russia... Maybe... Though India has much stronger economic ties with the English speaking western world than it does with Russia. Are Indian car makers trying to buy the Range Rover and Jaguar brands so that they can sell such branded vehicles to Russia? China? Iran? Not likely.

      • by XchristX (839963) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:15PM (#22278974)

        Iran seems an extremely unlikely partner as well. India is an open democracy, with a far freer society, and are not predominately Muslim. I also don't see much that Iran could offer India to begin with, as India is technologically much further along.

        India's greatest strength over Iran is it's liberal education, particularly in colleges and universities. That is why the technocrat generation in India is much larger and better trained than the ones in Iran.
        Interestingly, a lot of Iranian students are now interested in pursuing higher education in India, particularly after Ahmadinejad expelled liberal professors from Iranian Universities, and Iranians have a harder time getting into western universities because of political problems. I spent a summer in the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India and there were several Iranian students with very progressive and liberal outlook , unlike the Ayatollahs (they got me hooked on Dariush Mehrjui http://www.opendemocracy.net/arts/iranian_cinema_2595.jsp [opendemocracy.net] films) who were all cursing the Islamic theocracy in Iran.
      • India and Russia have a long history of excellent relations, especially in arms trade.
      • by miletus (552448) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @11:00PM (#22279290)
        Iran has gas, India needs gas, and there was a pipeline deal from Iran to India through Pakistan, which pretty muched got nixed because of U.S. pressure.

        Russia has historically strong ties with India and still sells it a lot of weaponry. With the rise of a the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an emerging military alliance between Russia, China, various Central Asian countries, and now Iran, India has to choose whether to ally with her neighbors or the U.S. The stakes are pretty high geopolitically.
        • by MarkRose (820682)

          Russia has historically strong ties with India and still sells it a lot of weaponry. With the rise of a the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an emerging military alliance between Russia, China, various Central Asian countries, and now Iran, India has to choose whether to ally with her neighbors or the U.S. The stakes are pretty high geopolitically.

          No need to worry here folks. SCO is already in bankrupt!

    • China? (Score:3, Informative)

      by donutello (88309)
      If you're going to title your post geopolitics 101 you should know that there is no danger of India getting too chummy with China. The two countries have several issues including a long-standing border dispute. India is not going to get chummy with China anytime soon. It's more likely the US wants to build India up to be a stronger foil to China in the region.
      • Eastern India is very strongly pro China, but the vast majority of India does not really care (though probably considers themselves more western aligned, be it America, UK, or Germany). For India, they need EU AND America. The reason is that China and/or Pakistan is likely to make another play for India. Pakistan will almost certainly fall to the taliban within another 2 years. This is the same group that tore out ancient buddist statues as being against Allah. They will also go after Kashmir in the only wa
    • by STrinity (723872)
      If this is Geopolitics 101, you flunk. China and India are rivals not friends, and they aren't going to get in bed with any country that would side with Pakistan if it got taken over by an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship.
    • by c6gunner (950153)

      Like the previous deals on nuclear power, this is an attempt to bribe India away from getting too friendly with China and Iran, and buying U.S. arms instead of Russian. Science has nothing to do with it.

      I can't beleive that got modded insightful.

      I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but, as others have pointed out, there is exactly zero chance of India and China being friendly any time soon. And, secondly, while I understand that it's considered "cool" these days to assign eeeevil motives to all US interac

    • Like the previous deals on nuclear power, this is an attempt to bribe India away from getting too friendly with China and Iran, and buying U.S. arms instead of Russian. Science has nothing to do with it.

      I'm curious: Have you seen the foreign policy documents, or the transcripts of interviews with chief diplomats, that support your claim? Or are you just guessing?
  • Jokes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teun (17872) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:07PM (#22278512) Homepage
    I see several jokes about cheap engineers or bad education, the scariest example of the latter is probably the statement in the summary about 'both sides of the Atlantic'.
    It really makes me wonder where India borders the Atlantic...

    A likely indication the summary was done with some US-style geography classes :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      'both sides of the Atlantic'. It really makes me wonder where India borders the Atlantic...

      The borders have been offshored too.
         
    • by aliquis (678370)
      Thought that part was probably more likely written by an american than an indian.
      • by notnAP (846325)
        Well, we had outsourced that article to them, but they haven't been reachable via email lately.
  • by mohanbabu (1097817) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:13PM (#22278566) Homepage

    This is a great opportunity for both countries to share the best scientists on both sides. This mission http://www.isro.org/chandrayaan/htmls/about_chandrayaan.htm [isro.org] is very critical and challenging for Indian scientists. They need every help they can get to pull this. In the past, when US denied supercomputing facilities, Indian went and reinvented the wheel http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2906865.stm [bbc.co.uk] (although the effort was worth it).With relations improving between two countries, it will be foolish and immature not to accomplish.

    This effort will NOT face any opposition like the Nuclear deal. The nuclear deal went down the drain because the stupid "left" politicians played the "Indian congress government is surrendering to US" card. They also threatened to withdraw their support which would have collapsed the Congress ruling party http://www.heritage.org/Research/AsiaandthePacific/wm1688.cfm [heritage.org]. This time, they will make sure this deal is made and take the bragging rights for landing India on the moon. Yes, the Indian politics is screwed up. But they are not fools to let this deal go away.

    • Yes, the Indian politics is screwed up.

      Of Indian politics I know nothing, but if they're more screwed up than ours I'd be very impressed.
    • I have been following this deal for quite some time. I was under the impression that it was still being looked at (though it seemed like the haggling had gone underground). In addition, I did notice the left announced that they had a deal with China to do something similar. What you are suggesting that the US nuke deal truly is dead? If so, will India seriously consider China's deal? China does not have much tech knowhow on building nuclear reactor save what they obtained from USSR and stole from America (o
  • From the article.

    "I am honored to sign this agreement with the India Space Research Organization," Griffin said.


    Hmmm. Obviously trying to curry favor there :)
  • I'm just going to wait and see if any asshats here can post a thoughtful comment about India's space exploration, maybe admiring their abilities and scholastic achievements... without making any asinine semi-racist comments about Indians stinking of curry, having unintelligible accents, being cheap labor, etc...

    So... any yet?
    • post a thoughtful comment about India's space exploration, maybe admiring their abilities and scholastic achievements...

      Good God man, why? This is Slashdot, not The Journal of International Relations! Where else would we show off our subtle and sophisticated Western wit (or at least half of it)?

  • Think of all the paint it's going to take to write the names on all the Indian space doohickeys.
  • I'll bet somewhere in this "agreement" is a provision that allows big government contractors like Lockheed and L3 to outsource sensitive classified projects to Indian engineering outsourcing firms.

    Science and Engineering in the US are dead. They died when we stopped teaching Math and Science to our kids back in the 90's.
  • Um ... India's not on a side of the Atlantic.
    • Quiet now. We don't need our senators to know that.
    • by ozbird (127571)
      Indeed. I believe the correct relational term is "both sides of the call center".
  • "This is the culmination of long-term planning on both sides of the Atlantic"

    Uh... I'm fairly sure that India doesn't border the Atlantic. Rather, I'm fairly sure they border another ocean, the Indian ocean perhaps.
  • by sunilarjun (1232258) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @12:40AM (#22279864)
    Sad to see the types of comments posted here---remuind me of blue collar miners etc...who would talk of "college educated" guys in the same way---because they were scared their way of living is being disrupted. If you're getting your butt kicked by India and China, learn to innovate---that's what America stands for---I don't hear Bill Gates or Steve Jobs whining like the pathetic folks here.
    • But..but..dey took ar jerbs!

      Seriously though, they can innovate too, and while idealistic speeches like that are all fine and good, it's too much to expect us to overcome powerful economic forces with mere innovation. To really compete, legal and economic realities need to be taken into account. Free trade puts us at a severe disadvantage economically that I don't think mere innovation can overcome.
  • Let's hope that cooperation in space lends momentum to helping India modernize.

    India has pursued a positive course in emerging from colonialism in terms of its robust democracy and liberal society (not glossing over internal conflicts, just not enough space to go into it here), and for the most part in its relations with other nations in the world. Sadly, its economic progress has not proceeded along the same lines due to protectionism, corruption, and inability to build up its infrastructure.

    China, on the

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