The head of the Australian Space Agency and Shri S. Somanath from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in a virtual meeting discussed the potential establishment of ground stations in Australia to monitor the South Asian nation’s navigation satellites.
It comes after the Australian federal government announced in March it was investing $42 million into space initiatives with India, such as supporting the nation’s first manned spaceflight, Gaganyaan, set to launch in 2023.
Australia will support the mission by tracking the spacecraft from Cocos Keeling Islands, a part of the nation’s external territory, with hopes to establish a ground station there.
In their latest talk on Tuesday, the leaders “expressed happiness over the progress” of establishing the ISRO ground station, according to a statement released by the Indian space agency.
“They also discussed on other potential areas of working together including Australia’s International Space Investment initiative; establishing ISRO’s ground stations in Australia for satellite data reception and for range and integrity monitoring of NavIC satellites and organising a joint workshop to promote interaction among space entities of both nations.”
The NavIC, also known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is a constellation that provides accurate positioning information to users in India and regions extending up to 1500 kilometres from its boundary.
It is the Indian version of the GPS system and provides vehicle tracking, disaster management, aerial, marine and terrestrial navigation services.
The first of the eight satellites was launched in 2013, and the last in 2018.
Space Connect has requested the Australian Space Agency for comment.
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 announcement made in March includes more than $25 million that will be invested into Australian businesses and researchers to utilise India’s space capabilities.
Then, $9.5 million will also be spent on an Australia-India Innovation and Technology Challenge, and $7.8 million to secure the ongoing Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
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]
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