07 November 2010

Carnegie Institute Report by Ashley Tellis Mentions Space Solar Power

From: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/obama_in_india.pdf&pli=1

In anticipation of the president’s visit, the United States and India are also currently
engaged in a preliminary discussion about collaborating to secure the commons. By its
very nature, this conversation will be an extended one because it involves not merely
operational cooperation in four substantially different realms—air, space, maritime,
and cyber—but a new framework aimed at creating acceptable “rules of the road” for
all actors globally.

Space has long been an arena of successful U.S.-Indian cooperation. Since its origin,
the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has had close links with its American
counterpart, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and this
partnership laid the foundations for ISRO’s current achievements in space launchers,
space systems, and space science.
Unfortunately, this collaboration frayed during the 1980s when ISRO, against its own
choice, supported the development of solid fuel rockets for the Indian missile pro-
gram. These problems thankfully can now be put in the past: the expertise developed
during the last decade within India’s Defense Research and Development Organiza-
tion (DRDO) in solid fuel rocketry implies that ISRO is free to return to its traditional
preoccupation—civilian space. In addition, the removal of both ISRO and DRDO
from the Entity List—something that Obama should announce during his visit—en-
ables the United States to cooperate more vigorously with both organizations, but
especially with ISRO, given the successful history of past collaboration.

There are numerous projects that the United States and India can immediately apply
themselves to in this regard: collaborating on space-based and terrestrial weather
forecasting, especially with regard to monsoon prediction and tracking, a subject of
enormous importance for India; partnering to build GAGAN, India’s satellite-based
augmentation system intended to increase the accuracy of its existing global position-
ing system (GPS) receivers; aiding India’s ambitious space exploration efforts and, in
particular, its manned lunar landing program where the United States has unparalleled
experience; joining the Indo-French Megha-Tropiques mission (MTM) intended to
study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere to assess climate change; and sharing
additional data from various space-based remote sensing satellites such as LANDSAT,

Above all, however, bilateral space cooperation will receive a serious boost if the two
countries finally conclude the Commercial Space Launch Agreement (CSLA) that was
agreed to in 2004 but has eluded completion thus far largely due to U.S. bureaucratic
mishaps. As one looks to the future, it is obvious that, as India becomes a signifi-
cant space-faring power, the opportunities for collaboration will only increase. One
remarkable idea toward this end has recently been articulated by Lieutenant Colonel
Peter Garretson, United States Air Force, and involves joint collaboration to develop
a “highly scalable, revolutionary, renewable energy technology”21 that exploits space-
based solar power. This concept deserves serious scrutiny in both countries because it
subsists at the frontiers of space science and has the potential for enormous payoffs
in both energy security and mitigating climate change.

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