FIJI will be the data collection hub for a space mission to Mars by the Indian Government.
An 18-member team of top scientists and engineers from India's International Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is in the country to pave the way for India's first-ever satellite mission to the Red Planet later this month.
The $US69million ($F127.3m) Mars Orbiter Mission called Mangalyaan will be launched from India and scientists expect the rocket to enter space from somewhere high above Fiji's airspace or somewhere close.
The mission will be monitored from Fiji and other parts of the South Pacific ocean.
In an exclusive interview with this newspaper, ISRO scientist and project leader Mirza Mohammed Zaheer said one ship, which would monitor the tracking of the satellite, was in Fiji while another would arrive on Saturday.
"We are sending a satellite to orbit towards the Mars planet so in that, the injection of the satellite will take place somewhere in the South Pacific ocean," Mr Zaheer said.
"We will be going on the ship-bound terminals and getting the data, transmitting to our launch centre from our ship and those data will be used for the satellite, further establishing the mission, doing the Mars capture and then start orbiting Mars."
Mr Zaheer said the trajectory of the rocket would be over Fiji.
"There are some technical perimeters which defines the trajectory. The duration will be 25 days."
India's High Commissioner to Fiji Vinod Kumar said with the purpose of tracking, ISRO scientists and other concerned agencies would be in Fiji monitoring aboard the two Indian ships from two different points in the Pacific ocean.
He said the Indian Deep Space Network would perform the navigation and tracking operations of the mission while NASA Deep Space Network will provide support services during the non-visible period of the Indian Deep Space Network.
Mr Kumar said ISRO would use its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Rocket with the objective to develop technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
"Fiji has been chosen for its ideal location, being a communication hub and our close and friendly relations," he said.
"We are thankful to the government of Fiji and other agencies for their support in this mission. Such visits contribute to strengthening our relations and would also be helpful in developing relations in the area of science and technology."
He said the team would present the model rocket and satellite to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today.
The Mars Orbiter Mission carries a thermal infra-red imaging spectrometer to map Mars' surface composition and mineralogy.