$18 million projects to boost Australian-Indian commercial space collaboration

“India’s commercial space sector is rapidly growing, propelled forward by historic feats like becoming the first nation to successfully land on the South Pole of the Moon."

The Australian Government has announced that three projects have been awarded a total of $18 million under the Australian Space Agency’s (ASA) International Space Investment India Project program.

Each project includes a number of Australian and Indian partners, building valuable commercial links with the Indian Space Research Organisation and the booming Indian space sector.

Image: Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science (Source: LinkedIn)

Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science, said in a statement:

“Australia and India are enduring strategic partners, and by working together in space we can strengthen our relationship while also delivering outcomes that will benefit our nations and region more broadly. These projects emphasise the role space science can play in enhancing cooperation in our region for mutual benefit.”

He added:

“The innovations that will be developed as part of these projects are going to help address some of our greatest challenges of today like climate change, while also driving gains in areas like advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence that will promote a Future Made in Australia.”  

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This investment will strengthen Australia’s already enduring strategic partnership with India.

Head of the ASA Enrico Palermo said: 

“India’s commercial space sector is rapidly growing, propelled forward by historic feats like becoming the first nation to successfully land on the South Pole of the Moon.”

He added:

“By investing in these collaborative projects (see below) we can further strengthen the relationship between our space sectors and unlock opportunities for Australian organisations to develop even more joint projects and missions with India into the future.”

Each of the following successful collaborative projects is a prime example of how we can boost Australia and India’s commercial space relationship by aligning on agreed areas of strategic importance.

LatConnect 60 Ltd (Western Australia) has been awarded almost $5.8 million to develop and build a Low Earth Orbit satellite in Australia to collect information on carbon emissions at a very high resolution. The satellite will be launched from India, and aims to significantly lower the cost of data acquisition and insight generation of key indicators like methane and carbon dioxide.

Space Machines Company (New South Wales) has been awarded more than $8.5 million for Space MAITRI (Mission for Australia-India’s Technology, Research and Innovation) – demonstrating advanced concepts such as on-orbit transportation and space debris mitigation. Space MAITRI will incorporate an Australian-built Orbital Servicing Vehicle, sent into space on a dedicated Indian launcher. 

Skykraft (ACT) has been awarded $3.7 million to propose and validate a new Position, Navigation and Timing system with an ultimate aim to better connect large-scale satellite constellations, which are vital for Earth observation and forecasting weather.

Australia India Institute CEO, Lisa Singh said that the success of Chandrayaan-3 shows India is dedicated to advancing its space and cutting-edge technology capabilities, and it’s an exciting time to explore greater opportunities to partner with them.

“Australia and India possess significant untapped potential as space partners. As they become closer economic and security partners, the areas for cooperation on space technologies will grow.”

In 2023, Australia helped track India’s historic landing on the South Pole of the Moon and is currently supporting India’s upcoming Gaganyaan human space flight mission.

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Mr Palermo added:

“Australia has unique competitive advantages to offer in Earth observation, communications technologies and services, and robotics and automation. We also have the capacity to contribute to and learn from India’s human space flight ambitions, particularly in space health and life sciences.”

This program demonstrates the role space – and science and innovation more broadly – can play in enhancing cooperation in our region for mutual benefit.

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