The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has asked the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to build an orbiter that will provide the communication between the soil samples collected from the far side of the moon and the earth, according to ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan.

This joint venture between the ISRO and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, would be part of the Moonrise missions planned by the NASA.

“This project is in the planning phase, alongside India's lunar mission programme centred on Chandrayaan-2,” he said.

The ISRO would provide an orbiting communicator to the NASA for this mission, scheduled for 2016.

Chandrayaan-2 would be put in an orbit around the moon by a Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in 2013 and the project would cost Rs.462 crore, Mr. Radhakrishnan said. It would be a joint mission with Russia: while the spacecraft and the rover would be built by India, the lander would be from Russia.

The two-member committee the Centre had appointed to go into the allocation of the S-band spectrum to private company Devas by ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation had submitted its report. The government would give it to the ISRO, which would act on it, he said.