French connection in space: India-France to collaborate to launch Isro’s next Mars mission

President Francois Hollande's visit to India resulted in the signing of 16 important Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between the two nations covering a wide range of sectors like urban development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy.

But perhaps one of the most important development to emerge from the bilateral talks is the partnership to launch India's next Mars mission.

Mangalyaan. Image Credit: Official Isro website

Mangalyaan. Image Credit: Official Isro website

Impressed by Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro)'s landmark launch of the low-cost Mars orbiter Mangalyaan, France will join India to launch its next Mars mission, which is set to roll out in 2018.

"India's Mangalyaan is very impressive, a good example of Make in India and of low-cost space exploration," Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the French Space Agency CNES told NDTV

So what next  after the MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission)?

"After India's Mars orbiter, the next step has to be a lander. A lander on Mars is not easy, but it will be interesting to undertake," added Le Gall.

If the joint venture between India and France succeeds, it will be only the second rover on the surface of the Red Planet. The US' Curiosity Rover is the only successful Mars landing so far.

A joint statement issued in the wake of the summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande says, both leaders “welcomed the announcement of collaboration through the participation of the CNES in future space and planetary exploration missions of the Isro," reports the Deccan Herald.

In 2014, India had scripted space history when it successfully placed its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet on its very first attempt, breaking into an elite club of three nations. The space probe entered the Mars orbit on 24 September, almost a year after its launch, and made its home around the planet.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jan 27, 2016 14:06:34 IST

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