3 Australian space tech startups land $18 million in government grants for India partnerships

- May 1, 2024 2 MIN READ
Skykraft's Dr Doug Griffin, Mark Skidmore, and Dr Craig Benson
Three space tech startups have received $18 million under the International Space Investment India Projects program, funded by the Australian government.

Western Australia’s LatConnect60 received close to $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.

Skykraft from the ACT was awarded $3.7 million to propose and validate a new position, navigation and timing system to better connect large-scale satellite constellations, which are vital for Earth observation and forecasting weather.

Space Machines Company from NSW was awarded more than $8.5 million for Space MAITRI (Mission for Australia-India’s Technology, Research and Innovation) to demonstrate 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 an Indian launcher.

The projects include a number of Australian and Indian partners, building valuable commercial links with the Indian Space Research Organisation and the country’s space sector.

Industry and Science minister Ed Husic said the projects are part of the government’s broader Future Made in Australia vision.

“Australia and India are enduring strategic partners, and by working together in space we can strengthen our relationship while also delivering outcomes that will benefit our nations and region more broadly,” he said.

“These projects emphasise the role space science can play in enhancing cooperation in our region for mutual benefit.”

Australian Space Agency head Enrico Palermo said India becoming the first nation to successfully land on the South Pole of the Moon is an example of its fast-growing space sector.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Australia India Institute CEO Lisa Singh said international partnerships drive innovation and progress.

“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,” she said.

“The success of Chandrayaan-3 shows 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.”

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