This page belongs to: Australian Space Agency

Regulating Australian space activities

Rules and regulations for Australian space activities and how they are enforced.

We regulate Australian space and high-power rocket activities. We also oversee international arrangements affecting space regulation.

Conducting space activities

The Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (the Act) establishes a system for regulating space activities in Australia or by Australian nationals outside Australia. The following activities need approval under the Act:

  • launching a space object from Australia
  • returning a space object to Australia
  • launching a space object overseas (for Australian nationals with an ownership interest)
  • returning a space object overseas (for Australian nationals with an ownership interest)
  • operating a launch facility in Australia
  • launching a high-power rocket from Australia.

See the notice of minister decisions to grant, vary, revoke, suspend or transfer a permit, licence or authorisation under this Act.

See the register of space objects authorised under the Act.

Complying with Australian regulations

Three sets of rules support the Act. The rules include application requirements for space and high-power rocket activity approvals:

The rules refer to these documents:

Read more about conducting Australian space activities under the regulatory framework. This information has been prepared in response to stakeholder feedback and addresses some frequently asked questions.

We will no longer be introducing fees for launch applications. Read more about our regulatory reform programs to encourage launches in Australia.

Proposed changes to the rules

We are consulting on proposed changes to:

  • Space (Launches and Returns) (General) Rules 2019
  • Space (Launches and Returns) (High Power Rocket) Rules 2019.

Consultation on stage 1 of these changes closed in May 2022. Read the summary of feedback on our consultation hub.

We expect to consult on further changes to space legislation in future. These changes will create a globally respected regulatory framework for space activities.

Enforcing regulations

The Act includes civil penalties for offences such as:

  • not holding a licence, permit, authorisation or authorisation certificate in certain circumstances
  • breaching a condition associated with a licence, permit, authorisation or authorisation certificate.

We will consider these principles in our approach to compliance:

  • being proportionate and responsive
  • being outcomes focused
  • being transparent and consistent.

We will be consistent in our approach to non-compliance, while considering specifics of each situation. We will decide whether to undertake enforcement action in a timely manner and in proportion to the risk posed by the non-compliance.

Our approach will maintain stakeholder confidence and encourage further discussions between industry and government to achieve positive regulatory outcomes.

Investigation reports

Under the Act, the minister appoints an investigator to examine any launch-related incidents or accidents.

If you have trouble accessing this documentation, please contact us. 

Space regulation news

Sep 2021 Australian Space Agency

First commercial rocket launch under updated Space (Launches and Returns) Act

The Australian Space Agency has given regulatory approval for a commercial rocket launch to take place from a newly licensed launch facility.
Jul 2021 Australian Space Agency

Australia’s second launch facility licence granted

The Australian Space Agency has granted Australia’s second launch facility licence, for Southern Launch’s facility in Whalers Way, South Australia.