Lot Fourteen-based business, Space Machines Company, will expand its Adelaide-based mission command centre, creating more jobs and greater investment for the South Australian economy.
The Australian orbital servicing organisation announced its plans in Bengaluru, India, with Trade and Investment Minister Nick Champion today.
Space Machines Company founders Rajat Kulshrestha and George Freney said plans to grow their Adelaide footprint came amidst growing interest in collaboration between South Australia and India.
The new expansion will create up to 10 new jobs for mission control engineers and support staff, who would play a role in command and control of Australia’s biggest satellite, Optimus.
The prospect of a greater partnership between South Australia’s space industry and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) follows recent announcements that India will send an astronaut to the Moon by 2040 and send a space station into orbit by 2035.
ISRO also recently launched rockets to study the moon and test flights of the Gahanyaan spacecraft, a precursor for astronaut flight by 2025 – and became the first country to land a spacecraft on the Moon’s South Pole.
Space Machines Company’s state-of-the-art mission control centre is strategically located at Lot Fourteen.
Today’s announcement was made at a Malinauskas Labor Government-led ‘critical technologies roundtable’ in Bengaluru, which forms a key component of Minister Champion’s India trade mission.
The roundtable’s aim was to promote trade, research and development collaboration and investment from India’s top technology firms into South Australia, crucial in building strong connections to advance the State’s economic ties with India.
It is particularly significant considering the implementation of Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, which provides Australian businesses with a competitive advantage for expanding into the Indian market. Minister Nick Champion said, “Space Machines Company’s expansion in Adelaide is an excellent example of a global company recognising the strategic advantage of investing in South Australia.”
“The space sector provides a unique opportunity for enhanced South Australian and Indian collaboration in our region, with benefits from innovation set to benefit a range of sectors from disaster and climate responses, water management, agriculture, along with defence and communications.
Space Machines Company chief executive officer and co-founder Rajat Kulshrestha, said, “South Australia’s rise as a leading centre for space research and innovation makes it the perfect choice for establishing our operations in Adelaide.”
“The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre, Australia’s largest collaborative initiative in the space industry, affords us unparalleled opportunities for engagement with leading universities, esteemed global space enterprises, dynamic SMEs, and visionary startups.”
In collaboration, South Australian space technology company, Inovor Technologies, will see its state-of-the-art celestial navigation system integrated into the Orbital Servicing Vehicle of in-space servicing organisation, Space Machines Company.
Inovor’s Star Tracker – which relies on celestial objects such as stars to precisely determine a spacecraft’s orientation in space – will play a pivotal role in enhancing the navigation capabilities of Space Machines Company’s Optimus vehicle.
Founder and CEO of Inovor Technologies, Dr Matthew Tetlow, said the company is thrilled to see the Star Tracker incorporated into Optimus.
“This partnership exemplifies our dedication to fostering advanced manufacturing capabilities within Australia and showcases the synergy between leading local companies in this industry,” said Dr Tetlow.
“Our Star Tracker’s high-precision, low-power attitude sensor designed and manufactured in-house provides unparalleled accuracy by precisely determining the spacecraft’s orientation. It provides fully autonomous determination in a compact form factor.”
Mr Kulshrestha, said the partnership marked an important moment for the advancement of Australia’s space industry.
“Working closely with leading local space pioneers like Inovor Technologies will not only generate world-leading space exploration technologies driven by enhanced accuracy and a reliable navigation system but will facilitate a new standard for local collaboration that defines the future of Australia’s space industry.”
Optimus will provide transportation and other in-space services following its launch on the SpaceX Transporter-10 in early 2024.
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