Recently, ISRO arm NSIL signed an $18-million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian govt for their largest-ever satellite launch.

Key Highlights:

  • NSIL and Australian firm Space Machines will launch a satellite inspection and observation payload aboard ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in 2026 into lower earth orbit.
    The launch will be of a second Optimus spacecraft weighing 450 kg, which will be the biggest Australian-designed satellite launched to date.
  • The partnership will include key players in India’s private space sector, such as Ananth Technologies, a company that has provided parts and engineering services to ISRO for numerous missions in the past.
  • This mission will be known as Space MAITRI (Mission for Australia India’s Technology, Research and Innovation).

About NSIL:

  • New Space India Limited (NSIL), established on March 6, 2019, under the Companies Act, 2013, is a wholly owned government company of India. 
  • It operates under the Department of Space (DOS) and serves as the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 
  • NSIL’s main role is to facilitate Indian industries in engaging in high-tech space activities and to promote and commercially utilize products and services derived from India’s space missions. 

NSIL function:

  • Launch Services: NSIL facilitates launches using ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the upcoming Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
  • Space-Based Services: NSIL offers services like transponder leasing, remote sensing data access, and mission support.
  • Satellite Development: NSIL can tailor communication and Earth observation satellites to meet specific user needs.
  • Technology Transfer: NSIL bridges the gap by transferring technologies developed by ISRO and Department of Space institutions to the private sector.

Highlights of Space MAITRI:

  • Largest Aussie Satellite: This mission will launch the heaviest Australian-designed satellite ever built, marking a significant milestone for their space program.
  • Focus on Space Debris: Space MAITRI aims to address the growing issue of space debris in low Earth orbit.
  • Mission Funding: The project receives a boost from an $8.5 million grant from the Australian Space Agency.
  • Strengthening Ties: Space MAITRI fosters friendship and collaboration between the Australian and Indian space sectors.
  • Future Launches: This mission paves the way for future Australian satellite launches from Indian soil, signifying a new era of bilateral space cooperation.

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