Washington: Apparently under prodding from the White House, NASA, has said it will continue to cooperate with the ISRO, days after the US space agency’s chief criticised India and termed its anti-satellite weapon test a “terrible thing” for creating about 400 pieces of orbital debris. In a letter to ISRO chairman K Sivan, NASA administrator James Bridenstine said, “Based on the guidance received from the White House”, he looks forward to continuing to work with ISRO on a host of issues including human space flights.
“As part of our partnership with you, we will continue to work on issues using the NASA-ISRO Human Space Flight Working Group, Planetary Science Working Group, US India Earth Science Working Group and the Heliophysics Working Group,” Bridenstine said. In his letter, Bridenstine says he recently wrote to ISRO about the suspension of cooperation on human space flight. “Recently, we sent you a letter indicating a suspension of activities under the NASA-ISRO Human Space Flight Working Group,” he wrote. From the April 4 letter, it appears that after the White House weighing in, the cooperation remains intact.
The letter comes days after NASA chief Bridenstine in a town hall meeting criticised India’s anti-satellite missile (ASAT) test due to the debris it generated in the space and its potential threat to the International Space Station. “The anti-satellite weapons test by India last week has resulted in 400 pieces of orbital debris,” he said on April 1, adding “that is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris and an apogee that goes above the International Space Station”.
“As we made clear, space debris is a serious issue for the United States. As it is a growing threat, it is the responsibility of all nations who operate in space,” Bridenstine said in his letter, a copy of which has been seen by PTI. “We will continue to monitor the remaining debris from your test as it relates to the safety of our human spaceflight activities especially at the International Space Station,” wrote the NASA Administration, according to the letter.
PM Narendra Modi announced on March 27 India had achieved a “historic feat” by shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile, making the country a “space power”. Only three countries, the US, Russia and China, have anti-satellite missile capabilities.
US reaches H-1B visa cap for 2020
Washington: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it has reached Congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for 2020, after it started receiving the applications for the most sought-after work visa among foreign, including Indian, professionals. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
The USCIS, the federal agency mandated with task of approving such applications, on Friday said “it has received a sufficient number of petitions projected as needed to reach the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap for fiscal year 2020.” The fiscal year begins October 1, 2019 and it the USCIS started receiving the visa petitions from April 1. However, the agency did not revealed the number of petitions received by it in the first five days. The USCIS, said, it will next determine if it has received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the 20,000 H-1B visa US advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.