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Regulating Australian space activities

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The Australian Space Agency is responsible for:

  • regulating Australian space and high power rocket activities
  • international arrangements affecting space regulation

Authorising space activities

Under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 you need approval to undertake certain space activities in Australia, these include:

  • launching a space object from Australia
  • returning a space object to Australia
  • launching a space object overseas (and you’re an Australian national with an ownership interest)
  • returning a space object overseas (and you’re an Australian national with an ownership interest)
  • operating a launch facility in Australia

If you’re considering any of these activities, please read the supporting information below, and contact us as soon as possible by emailing

We’ll assess your applications and provide them to the Minister who has authority to approve space activities. 

Rules and guidance to complete your application   

The Act is supported by 3 rules. The rules explain application requirements for space and high power rocket activity approvals:

We won’t start assessing applications for high power rocket activity until 30 June 2020. Current arrangements for regulating high power rockets will stay in place until the High Power Rocket Rules commence. 

The rules refer to these refreshed documents:

We’re interested in hearing your feedback about these documents, email


The government has been reviewing cost recovery arrangements for assessment of applications made under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (the Act). This is consistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines. The government has agreed to introduce partial cost recovery arrangements.

This updates arrangements for fees as set out in the Space Activities Act 1998, and detailed in the Space Activities Regulations 2001.  

The Australian Space Agency will conduct public consultation on the draft rules to introduce cost recovery arrangements. This is expected to occur in March and April 2020.  

Fees will not be introduced prior to 1 July 2020.

The charging model will be reviewed in 2022-23 to ensure arrangements are appropriate.

Subscribe to Australian Space Agency news and follow us on social media for consultation updates.

Updating the regulatory framework

To ensure Australia’s space regulations meet technology advances and don’t unnecessarily inhibit innovation, the Australian Government updated the regulatory framework. This included amending the Space Activities Act 1998 Act and introducing rules. The updated Act, now known as the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018, commenced on 31 August 2019.  

Read how we updated the regulatory framework and consulted on the rules on our Consultation hub.

Previous regulatory framework

The previous regulatory framework included the Space Activities Act 1998, Space Activities Regulations 2001 and Space Activities (Approved Scientific or Educational Organisations) Guidelines 2015.

The framework is no longer in force from 31 August 2019 but transition arrangements apply in some circumstances. See sections 189 and 190 of the Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Returns) Act 2018.

International arrangements affecting space regulation

We engage in international discussions to support Australia’s space obligations, this includes treaty negotiations, United Nations resolutions and guidelines development.

Australia has ratified all 5 space treaties:

Read more

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Last updated: 9 April 2020

Content ID: 12666