Space Machines Company to Build Australian Spacecraft in Sydney as First Customer Signs on for Lunar Ascent Rideshare Mission

  • Lunar Ascent will offer ride-share to lunar orbit 
  • Organizations can place payloads starting at $US200,000 per kg 
  • The Lunar Ascent mission is rapidly securing supporters including Deloitte, NSW & SA Governments

SYDNEY, Australia (Lunar Ascent PR) — Spacecraft for Australia’s first moon mission, Lunar Ascent, will be built by Australian aerospace pioneers Space Machines Company. Manufacturing will take place at a facility in Mascot close to the airport that Space Machines Company has identified as a suitable site. 

The mission will offer “ride-sharing” to organisations seeking to place payloads – for example, imaging or communications satellites in lunar orbit. Interested parties are able to book cargo starting at around US$200,000 per kg. This is one third less expensive than the US-based competition.

Lunar Ascent is an industry-led consortium spearheaded by Space Machines Company and supported by Deloitte. Industry consultation and engagement will continue until late March 2021 when the mission will be officially launched. The project will operate in accordance with the mission manifesto. The mission aims to put 60kg of payload into lunar orbit by 2024. This will provide organisations without capital required for standalone satellites and dedicated launches the opportunity to access lunar orbit for commercial and research purposes. 

Sydney based Spiral Blue and HEO Robotics have signed a letter of intent to be the first commercial customers sending a payload to the moon on the Lunar Ascent mission. This mission will use an innovative transfer trajectory to the moon in a world first. This way of getting to lunar orbit will enable a price point starting at around $US 200,000 per kg, creating cost efficiencies for future missions and creating competitiveness for Australian companies in the global market. 

Space Machines founder and CEO Rajat Kulshrestha said he was proud to manufacture in Australia to support his vision of thriving Australian space industry. “Our Sydney based development and manufacturing facility will play a critical role in a globally competitive supply chain and skills growth for Australian space industry.

“The fact we have customers demonstrates the value of Lunar Ascent providing a timely and effective way of getting smaller payloads to lunar orbits. 

“This is an important step towards a sovereign capability in building, testing and deploying Australian technology for deep space missions.” 

The Hon Stuart Ayres, MP, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, said the NSW Government was supportive of Space Machines’ local manufacturing.

“NSW is 100 percent on board in backing the Lunar Ascent mission,” he said. 

“It’s fantastic to see NSW manufacturers like Space Machines Company taking a leadership role in this national endeavour.  

“The sky is no longer the limit for business as manufacturers and supply chain providers look to space as the new frontier for growth and opportunities. 

“So, when you look up, keep an eye out for the ‘Made in NSW’ stamp.”

Deloitte Space Sector Co-Lead Steve Rayment said the Lunar Ascent project was part of the company’s drive to accelerate commercial innovation in Australia’s space sector. 

“Deloitte is strongly committed to proactively supporting purposeful growth of the Australian space ecosystem and bringing together innovators with the public and private sectors to create new business opportunities in space. 

“Our vision is to see the Australian space ecosystem recognised globally as a leader in delivering value to the world’s key industry sectors and society through new disruptive space-enabled capabilities, business models and by the way we collaborate.”

About Space Machines

Space Machines Company is an Australian start-up that is developing in-space transportation capabilities to cost-effectively insert small satellites into desired low earth orbits (LEO), geostationary earth orbits (GEO) and lunar orbits. Space Machines Company has contracted Gilmour Space Technologies to launch the largest commercial satellite built in Australia in March 2022 to test their platform.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), its global network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms and their affiliated entities are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more. to learn more.

Deloitte Asia Pacific Limited is a company limited by guarantee and a member firm of DTTL. Members of Deloitte Asia Pacific Limited and their related entities, each of which are separate and independent legal entities, provide services from more than 100 cities across the region, including Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Osaka, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Tokyo.

About Spiral Blue

Spiral Blue is a Sydney based space startup company focused on improving Earth observation services with Space Edge computing. Founded in 2018, the company is on track for its first Space Edge Zero prototype to be launched to orbit in January 2021.

About HEO Robotics

HEO Robotics is an in-orbit inspection company based in Sydney, Australia. HEO uses satellite-mounted cameras to take eye-watering pictures of other spacecraft as they fly past, and then use this data to help spacecraft owners look after their assets. HEO Robotics is proudly the first company worldwide to offer in-orbit inspection commercially, currently conducting a closed pilot of the service.