Legislative arrangements for civil space activities

If you are intending to undertake a space-related activity in Australia or if you are an Australian individual or company intending to undertake a space activity overseas, your initiative may be required to adhere to legislative arrangements related to civil space activities. These arrangements ensure that civil space activities do not jeopardise Australia’s national interests and international obligations in space.

The department has responsibility for administering legislative requirements for civil space activities, which are specified in three key documents:

Four types of space activities are administered by legislation:

  1. The operation of a launch facility in Australia.
  2. The launch of a space object in Australia.
  3. The launch of an Australian space object from a facility located outside of Australia.
  4. The return of a space object to a place anywhere in Australia.

It is important to note that a space object can be any part of a launch vehicle or a payload. If you have an ownership interest in an object or any part of an object that will travel 100km above mean sea level, then legislation may apply. 

The department is also responsible for coordinating requirements of civil space activities with other government agencies to ensure proposed activities do not jeopardise public safety, property, the environment, Australia’s national security, foreign policy or other international obligations.

Through legislative arrangements, a number of space launches have been approved for research and industry related activities. These include Australian university’s involvement in the QB50 project, Cuberider, nbnTM’s Sky Muster and Sky Muster II Communication satellites and Optus’ communication satellites (most recently Optus 10).

If you are undertaking launch activities we encourage you to contact us by email space@industry.gov.au to arrange a discussion on how these legislative arrangements may apply to your proposed space activity.

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