Indo-Australian Space Collaboration: MAITRI takes off in 2026  - The India Saga



Indo-Australian Space Collaboration: MAITRI takes off in 2026 

India and Australia have joined forces to create a landmark in space collaboration. Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will be…

Indo-Australian Space Collaboration: MAITRI takes off in 2026 

India and Australia have joined forces to create a landmark in space collaboration. Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will be used by ISRO for its inaugural commercial launch. Currently in development, SSLV is scheduled for release in 2026. Space MAITRI (Mission for Australia-India’s Technology, Research and Innovation) is the mission’s official name. Under the Department of Space, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) is a central government firm. It is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). NSIL and the Australian government have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth a staggering 18 million.

Space Machines Company and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) have signed a Dedicated Launch Service Agreement. The Space Machines Company is an Indian-Australian company that provides in-space servicing. This will be the first full rocket launch of SSLV on a commercial basis, according to Mr. Somanath, the head of the Space Commission and secretary of the Department of Space. He further added that, depending on the anticipated demand for small satellite launch rockets, the future agenda is to annually launch 20-30 SSLV.

Several stakeholders in India’s commercial space industry, notably the space engineering company Ananth Technologies, would be involved in the Indo-Australian alliance. Ananth Technologies has been providing engineering services and components to ISRO for a long time. This cornerstone agreement shows their shared commitment to sustainable space operations and re-enforces relations between the space sectors of Australia and India.

This significant collaboration was unveiled in Delhi, India, during the India Space Congress 2024. It will create an innovative path for the 2026 launch of the second Optimus spacecraft from Space Machines Company. At about 450 kg, the Optimus spacecraft is massive. As of this moment, this is the largest spacecraft ever designed and built in Australia. It will be launched on ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). The two countries’ strategic cooperation in the space sector has advanced significantly with this mission. Furthermore, to strengthen the spirit of cooperation between the two space economies. ISRO and the Australian government also announced plans to hold joint space conferences in November.

The significance of this alliance was emphasized by NSIL Chairman and Managing Director Radhakrishnan Durairaj, who stated that this joint mission highlights international cooperation in space. Furthermore, it strengthens the strategic connection between Australia and India. The mission’s goal, he continued, is to support sustainable space exploration and usage.

The same notion was echoed by Rajat Kulshrestha, CEO and co-founder of Space Machines Company, who called the partnership a huge step forward for Australia’s space economy. He went on to discuss the advantages of this mission, which combines India’s established launch capabilities with Australia’s innovative spacecraft capabilities.

The goal of the Space MAITRI mission is to strengthen the relationships between the governments, institutions, and commercial space enterprises in both nations. Its emphasis on sustainability and debris management is aligned with the fundamental beliefs and goals of both countries. Additionally, the space mission will encourage responsible space operations and reduce the growing threat posed by space debris.