Source: News Bharati English03 May 2016 19:13:08

New Delhi, May 3: Space cooperation between India and France has now turned 50, making it India's oldest and most important collaboration with a European nation.

Exchanges at the start of the 1960s between what would later become the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the fledgling French National Space Agency (CNES) laid the foundations of a low-key but sustained relationship between the two space agencies. 
Department of Posts, India and La Poste, France released joint Stamps to commemorate 50 years of co-operation in space between India and France. The stamps were jointly released by Prime Minister of India and President of France.

The stamps contain the images of "Satellite with ARgos and ALtika" (SARAL) and Megha-Tropiques satellite. The two satellites were developed jointly by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Centre National d’Etudes Space (CNES) of France.

The satellites Megha-Tropiques and SARAL were launched by the Indian PSLV-C18 in 2011 and PSLV-C20 in 2013 respectively. The data provided by these satellites is being utilised by ISRO and CNES and is being shared with other countries.  

The partnership between India and France in space started in 1964 when the two countries entered into a protocol agreement for cooperation in space research. The countries have since continued to work together for the advancement of peaceful uses of outer space. Embeded ObjectSince the 1990s, CNES and ISRO have been collaborating together and the collective efforts have resulted in the launch of space missions Megha-Tropiques in 2011 and SARAL in 2013.

The honorable Prime Minister also visited the CNES Space Centre, Toulouse. The first French-Indian space cooperation agreement signed in May 1964 covered licenses to build Belier and Centaure sounding rockets in India, with the accompanying transfer of solidpropulsion technologies.  

Under the patronage of the United Nations and overseen by a CNES team led by Jacques Blamont, 50 French rockets were built locally and launched from 1965 onwards at the Thumba equatorial launch site in the State of Kerala. ISRO is CNES's number two partner after NASA in terms of volume of activity.