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3 Australia–India projects share $18m

The federal government has announced that three projects will share $18 million in grants as part of a unique program to increase collaboration between Australia and India.

The programs, which are detailed in full at the bottom of this article, include contributions from Space Machines Company, Skykraft and LatConnect60.

In particular, Space Machines Company’s $8.5 million grant will see it create a second ‘roadside assistance in space’ satellite to be launched from a dedicated Indian launcher.

The head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, “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 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 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.”

Each project will include a number of local and Indian partners and will prioritise areas of strategic importance to both nations.

The first round of the International Space Investment India Projects program was announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2023, and is part of the wider Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.


Lisa Singh, CEO of the Australia India Institute, said, “The success of Chandrayaan-3 shows that 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.”

It’s the latest agreement between the two nations, and it comes as Australia prepares to host the global IAC conference in Sydney next year.

In February for example, the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) signed an MoU with its Indian equivalent to increase collaboration between the two countries’ space sectors.

The deal specifically addresses challenges including managing space debris, advancing satellite technology and aiding integration with defence.

The MoU with the Satcom Industry Association-India (SIA-India) was signed by senior figures attending this year’s DefSAT 2024 conference in New Delhi.

Jeremy Hallett, the executive chairman of the SIAA, hailed the important relationship between the two countries.

“Numerous initiatives and investments have been established since the government relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, but more needs to be done for space,” he said.

“Our respective space sectors are aligned in efforts to create space technology and services which have a meaningful impact for lives here on earth.”

As part of the new deal, the SIAA will participate in June’s India Space Congress event, while SIA-India will attend next year’s global IAC conference in Sydney.

International Space Investment India Projects program winners:

LatConnect60 (WA) 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 – supporting our agriculture and resources sectors to achieve emissions reduction and Net Zero targets.

Space Machines Company (NSW) 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. The ultimate aim is to better connect large-scale satellite constellations, which are vital for Earth observation and forecasting weather.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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