Both nations have worked together in space since 1997 and have continued to strengthen ties in recent years over shared interests in space.
The funding, under the International Space Investment (ISI) initiative, will place more money into Australia’s involvement in India’s first manned spaceflight, Gaganyaan, set to launch in 2023.
Australia will support the mission by tracking the spacecraft from Cocos Keeling Island, a part of the nation’s external territory, with hopes to establish a ground station there.
In the latest round of funding, more than $25 million will be invested into Australian businesses and researchers to utilise India’s space capabilities.
Then, $9.5 million will be spent on an Australia-India Innovation and Technology Challenge, and $7.8 million to secure the ongoing Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
“India is already a key economic partner for Australia and these investments will lock in relationships that are going to improve the everyday lives of residents in both our nations, while also creating economic opportunities for us here at home,” said Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price.
“India is also an important regional partner, and this funding will allow our nations to keep working together to promote rules and norms, including through initiatives like the Quad.”
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) – the South Asian country’s space agency – is one of the fastest growing in the world, Minister Price said.
It is expected to grow to US$43 billion by 2025, and she said the government wants “Australian space businesses to be part of that”.
The Australia-India Innovation and Technology challenge will be led by science organisation CSIRO and will fund 20 innovations to scale-up waste reduction, water security and food system resilience.
The Australia-India Strategic Fund – which is a previously established bilateral science cooperation – will receive $3.8 million per year from 2026.
The fund provides grants for collaborations with Indian partners.
The announcement comes a year after the Australian Space Agency and the ISRO signed a memorandum of understanding to increase cooperation across civil space activities.
Since then, the nations have collaborated on civil space research, technology and capability development, educational activities and the peaceful use of outer space.
Bella Richards is a journalist who has written for several local newspapers, her university newspaper and a tech magazine, and completed her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2020. She joined Momentum Media in 2021, and has since written breaking news stories across Space Connect, Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.
You can email Bella on: [email protected]
Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect here.