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Australia Inks $18M Deal with India’s Space Giant

Australian firm Space Machines will launch a satellite inspection and observation payload aboard ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in 2026…reports Asian Lite News

The Australian government on Wednesday entered into an $18 million memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Under the partnership, announced on the inaugural day of the India Space Congress 2024, Australian firm Space Machines will launch a satellite inspection and observation payload aboard ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in 2026.

“It is terrific to see this historic launch agreement signed here today between Space Machines and NewSpace India Limited. Australia and India are important strategic and natural partners in the space sector; an inherently global industry,” said Philip Green OAM, Australian High Commissioner to India.

The mission, named Space MAITRI (Mission for Australia-India’s Technology, Research and Innovation), marks a significant milestone in the strategic partnership between Australia and India in the space domain, fostering closer ties between commercial, institutional, and governmental space organisations from both nations. 

“This collaboration with Space Machines Company exemplifies the spirit of international cooperation in space and highlights the strategic partnership between Australia and India,” Radhakrishnan Durairaj, NSIL Chairman and MD, said in a statement.

In April, Space Machines Company announced that the Space MAITRI project had received an $8.5 million grant from the Australian Government through the Australian Space Agency’s International Space Investment India Projects (ISI India Projects) programme.

“By combining our innovative spacecraft capabilities with India’s proven launch expertise, we are not only strengthening the ties between our nations’ space sectors but also demonstrating our shared commitment to sustainable space operations,” said Rajat Kulshrestha, CEO and Co-Founder of Space Machines Company.

In addition, the head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, said the agreement is an important step towards enhancing Australia’s space heritage and strengthening our relationship with India.

“Like India, Australia’s commercial space sector is rapidly growing, and we are producing innovative space technologies that benefit life on Earth. The mission will inspire future explorers and further enhance international cooperation in this critical domain,” he added.

The Space MAITRI mission involves several Australian and Indian partner companies collaborating with Space Machines Company, including Ananth Technologies, Digantara, The University of Adelaide, The University of Sydney, The University of Technology Sydney, LeoLabs, Advanced Navigation, and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

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