Australian-Indian space projects get a boost

LatConnect 60, Space Machines Company and Skykraft secure A$18 million funding for civil-space innovations and commercial partnerships.

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The Australian Government, in collaboration with India, has announced funding for three collaborative space projects that will strengthen the space economy for both partner nations and future Australian-Indian space projects. The projects will receive a total of A$18 million (INR₹ 98 crore) as part of the International Space Investment India (ISI) Projects program.

Each project will include a number of Australian and Indian partners, who will help address climate change, boost manufacturing, and advance artificial intelligence, among other objectives.

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, expressed enthusiasm about the initiative: “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. 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.”

Australia-India Space Partnership
New strides in Australia-India space partnership (Source: Supplied)

“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,” added Palermo.The ISI India Projects program aims to forge significant commercial ties between the nations’ space sectors for future Australian-Indian space projects, emphasising the pivotal role of space science in fostering regional cooperation. The innovations from this program will also help promote a Future Made in Australia.

LatConnect 60, based in WA, has secured nearly $5.8 million in funding for the development and construction of a Low Earth Orbit satellite in Australia. This satellite will gather high-resolution data on carbon emissions. The satellite will be launched from India, aiming to significantly lower the cost of data acquisition and insight generation of key indicators like methane and carbon dioxide.

Space Machines Company (NSW) has been granted over A$8.5 million for its Space MAITRI (Mission for Australia-India’s Technology, Research, and Innovation) project. This initiative aims to showcase advanced concepts like on-orbit transportation and space debris mitigation. Space MAITRI will feature an Australian-built Orbital Servicing Vehicle, which will be launched into space using a dedicated Indian launcher, further enhancing collaborative efforts between the two nations in the field of space exploration.

Skykraft (ACT) has been granted A$3.7 million for its project aimed at proposing and validating a new Position, Navigation, and Timing system. The primary objective is to enhance connectivity among large-scale satellite constellations, which play a crucial role in Earth observation and weather forecasting.

Australia-India space partnership
Grantees Rajat Kulshrestha (Space Machines Company CEO), and Venkat Pillay (LatConnect 60 CEO) discuss their projects., (Source: Supplied)

“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,” shared Australia India Institute CEO Lisa Singh.

The new funding will not only strengthen the nation’s commercial links but further enrich their space history. Last year, 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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Mamta Sharma
Mamta Sharma
Mamta Sharma is a freelance journalist committed to sharing stories of diversity, inclusion, and equity, alongside narratives on leadership, entrepreneurship, start-up innovation, and wellbeing.

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