IODSSpace Machines Company announced Space MAITRI (मैत्री) (Mission for Australia-India’s Technology, Research and Innovation), a joint industry-led Australian-Indian mission to demonstrate progress towards space debris management and a sustainable space future.

The Space MAITRI project, funded by an $8.5 million grant from the Australian Government through the Australian Space Agency, is part of the International Space Investment India Projects (ISI India Projects) program. This program, delivered by the Australian Space Agency and Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) Grants Delivery & Business Services, builds upon the concept of a broader 2018 ISI initiative.

Space Machines Company is leading the Space MAITRI mission to demonstrate technologies to make space sustainable. The proliferation of satellites launched by various entities has led to a rapid increase in space debris encircling the Earth. This poses an escalating threat to both future space ventures and astronaut safety. Addressing this, solutions for sustaining space, raising awareness, mitigating debris, and improving in-space services have become pivotal.

Space MAITRI will incorporate Space Machines Company’s Australian-built Orbital Servicing Vehicle, integrated and launched from India on an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket. The mission will showcase advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and sustainability technologies through a close space sector supply chain and research partnership between the two nations.

“As an Australian-Indian, I’m especially proud that the Sanskrit word ‘MAITRI’ meaning friendship and goodwill encapsulates the spirit of this pioneering international collaboration,” said Rajat Kulshrestha, CEO and Co-Founder of Space Machines Company.

Space MAITRI will allow Space Machines Company to take the next step on its ambitious journey and build a further vehicle at its facility in Botany Sydney in partnership with Australian and Indian organisations.

“Our vision is to provide long-term ‘Roadside Assistance in Space’, where spacecraft are repaired, refuelled, refurbished, recycled and removed at the end of life. By combining Australian innovation with Indian spaceflight heritage, we’ll make important strides in ensuring a safe and sustainable orbital environment for future space activities.”

Key objectives of the Space MAITRI mission include:

  • In-orbit demonstration of space situational awareness and debris mitigation payloads, including new AI tools for inspection and removal.

  • Integration of Australian and Indian space supply chains and manufacturing capabilities.

  • Joint research and academic exchanges to develop space industry skills.

“This joint mission exemplifies the strategic alignment between Australia and India in space technology research and innovation. We are grateful for the support of both the Australian Government and the Australian Space Agency,” added Kulshrestha. “By working together, we can protect our orbital environment while fostering commercial opportunities that benefit both nations.”

For the Space MAITRI mission, Space Machines Company will partner with Digantara and Ananth Technologies. Digantara will provide their proprietary optical sensor which is tailored to image and track Resident Space Object (RSOs) in Low Earth Orbit. Once integrated onto the platform, the sensor will provide exceptional sensitivity, tracking accuracy and revisit rates, significantly improving monitoring capabilities in orbit. Ananth Technologies will contribute engineering expertise and access to cleanroom facilities for integration and testing. Collaborating with these innovative Indian companies aligns with Space MAITRI’s goals of fostering international cooperation and advancing space sustainability technologies.

The Space MAITRI project will likely result in one of the largest ever Australian spacecraft being built at around 500kg and possibly the first Australian payload to fly on an Indian rocket as a dedicated launch.


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