India's Upcoming Space Station Sets Its Sights On Global Collaboration With NASA's ISS

This is ideal for studying our planet, including the polar regions. It also allows satellites to connect with ground stations around the world, boosting communication capabilities.
Space Station

Space Station

India's space station project is taking a major step forward. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that the station will orbit Earth at an angle of 51.5 degrees, nearly matching the International Space Station's (ISS) orbit of 51.6 degrees. This angle, called orbital inclination, is important for spacecraft because it affects what they can see and communicate with.
A 51.5-degree inclination allows the Indian station to observe almost all of Earth's populated areas. This is ideal for studying our planet, including the polar regions. It also allows satellites to connect with ground stations around the world, boosting communication capabilities.
ISRO's decision to match the ISS orbit is strategic. It balances technical challenges, the potential for international cooperation, and scientific benefits. Unlike China's Tiangong space station, which orbits at a 42-degree angle, India's choice suggests a focus on future collaboration.
Matching the ISS orbit offers several advantages. First, it simplifies docking procedures for spacecraft from other space agencies, saving fuel and reducing mission complexity. Second, India might be able to use existing ground infrastructure built for the ISS, saving money and streamlining operations. The ISS is expected to be retired by 2030, so India's station could fill a critical gap in space research.
However, achieving and maintaining a 51.5-degree inclination won't be easy for ISRO. Unlike Russia's Soyuz rockets that naturally reach the ISS orbit, India's launches will require special manoeuvres. This will demand precise calculations and potentially more fuel during the initial launch stages.
Despite these challenges, India's decision positions its space station for extensive Earth observation and collaboration with other space agencies. This puts India at the forefront of future space exploration.
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