ISRO's Commercial Arm NSIL and Space Machines Company Inks Historic Launch Service Agreement for Next Optimus Spacecraft Onboard SSLV

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) and Space Machines Company announce the signing of historic Launch Service Agreement for next Optimus spacecraft onboard Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Govt. of India company under the Department of Space and the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)  and Space Machines Company, an Australian-Indian in-space servicing firm, have signed a landmark Dedicated Launch Service Agreement.

This pioneering collaboration sets the stage for the launch of Space Machines Company’s second Optimus spacecraft weighing 450kg, the largest Australian-designed and built spacecraft so far. Slated for a Dedicated launch on-board NSIL/ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in 2026, this mission will mark a defining moment for both nations in the area of space collaboration.

At the India Space Congress 2024 held in Delhi, Rajat Kulshrestha, CEO and Co-Founder of Space Machines Company, and Mr Radhakrishnan Durairaj, Chairman and Managing Director of NSIL, formally announced the signing of the Launch Service Agreement.

“This collaboration with Space Machines Company exemplifies the spirit of international cooperation in space and highlights the strategic partnership between Australia and India,” said Mr Radhakrishnan Durairaj, NSIL Chairman and Managing Director. “As a Launch service provider for the Optimus spacecraft, we are not only fostering the growth of our respective space industries but also contributing to the sustainable exploration and utilisation of space.”

The Space MAITRI mission and our collaboration with NewSpace India Limited represents a significant leap forward for Australia’s space industry. By combining our innovative spacecraft capabilities with India’s proven launch expertise, we are not only strengthening the ties between our nations’ space sectors but also demonstrating our shared commitment to sustainable space operations,” said Rajat Kulshrestha, CEO and Co-Founder of Space Machines Company.

This mission, named Space MAITRI मैत्री (Mission for Australia-India’s Technology, Research and Innovation), marks a significant milestone in the strategic partnership between Australia and India in the space domain, fostering closer ties between commercial, institutional, and governmental space organisations from both nations. By focusing on debris management and sustainability, the mission aligns with the core values and objectives of both countries, promoting responsible space operations and mitigating the growing threat of space debris.

Notably, SMC established a research and development office in Bangalore, India, close to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This strategic move allows them to collaborate with Indian partners, including Ananth Technologies, across missions, integration, testing, tech developments, and supply chain.

Space Machines Company (SMC) was founded by Rajat Kulshrestha and George Freney in 2018. These visionary space machinists are on a mission to revolutionize the space economy by providing cost-effective and flexible transportation services for satellites.

The space company is building a future where space works for everyone, addressing the lack of satellite servicing infrastructure and ensuring that satellites no longer have to "fend for themselves" in space. Key Executives at SMC include Rajat Kulshrestha (CEO & Co-Founder), Mark Ramsey (Chief Operating Officer), and George Freney (Co-Founder).

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