NASA is looking to Australian company Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) to conduct rocket launches.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Wallops Flight Facility has indicated it would like to progress discussions with ELA on their 2020 sounding rocket campaign. The campaign would provide temporary southern hemisphere launch facilities for sounding rockets for scientific investigations.
The proposed launch activities fall under the Space Activities Act 1998. The amended legislation to come into effect on 31 August 2019 (the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018). The Australian Space Agency is responsible for administering this legislation, including the relevant licenses and permits for launch sites and launch activities.
The Agency is also currently consulting with industry on draft rules under the amended Act. Ensuring the rules are in place for space activities is a priority for the Agency.
Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC said, “NASA’s interest in conducting a sounding rocket campaign in Australia shows the increasing importance of commercial launch activities from Australia.
“As these activities build momentum, the Agency will continue its focus on creating a supportive regulatory environment that fosters industry growth, while ensuring public safety and considering our international obligations.”