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The Australian government has inked a significant agreement with the Indian space agency, ISRO. An $18 million memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), ISRO’s commercial arm, paves the way for an Australian satellite launch aboard an Indian rocket.

The partnership, announced by Australian High Commissioner Philip Green in New Delhi, will see Australian firm Space Machines launch a satellite inspection and observation payload. This mission, slated for 2026, will hold a special place in Australian space history – it will be the largest Australian satellite launched to date, riding aboard ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

ISRO Chairman S. Somanath expressed optimism about the future of the SSLV, stating that the agency anticipates reaching a launch cadence of 20-30 missions per year, driven by the rising demand for small satellite launch services.

Highlighting the importance of the MoU, High Commissioner Green pointed out that while Australia has existing space collaborations, this agreement opens a new avenue – the ability to launch Australian satellites from Indian soil. This strategic partnership signifies a growing collaboration between the two nations in the burgeoning space sector.

This MoU marks a promising step forward for India and Australia in space exploration. The upcoming launch in 2026 will be a crucial first chapter in a potentially long and fruitful collaboration, fostering innovation and scientific exploration for both countries.