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Regulating Australian space activities
We’re responsible for:
- regulating Australian space and high power rocket activities
- international arrangements affecting space regulation
Authorising space activities
These activities need approval under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018:
- 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
Applying for activities
The Act is supported by three sets of rules. The rules explain application requirements for space and high power rocket activity approvals:
- Space (Launches and Returns) (General) Rules 2019
- Space (Launches and Returns) (High Power Rocket) Rules 2019 (rules commenced on 30 June 2020)
- Space (Launches and Returns) (Insurance) Rules 2019
The rules refer to these documents:
We’re interested to hear your feedback about these documents, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
High power rocket activities from 30 June 2020
You can submit an application to us for high power rocket activities.
Please note that it is an offence under section 13 of the Act to conduct a high power rocket activity, using an object that meets the definition of ‘high power rocket’ in the High Power Rocket Rules, without holding an appropriate approval granted under the Act.
The amendments reflect ongoing work to avoid overlapping regulatory frameworks. We’ll continue to work with CASA to support Australian high power rocket activities.
We assess your applications and provide to the Minister for approval. If you are considering any of these activities, you can email us email@example.com
The Australian Government has been reviewing cost recovery arrangements for assessment of applications made under the Act. This is consistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.
In 2021 we consulted on draft rules and a draft cost recovery impact statement, in preparation for the introduction of partial cost recovery arrangements.
The Australian Government has deferred the introduction of partial cost recovery for a further 12 months (until 1 July 2022).
Subscribe to Australian Space Agency news and follow us on social media for consultation updates.
An updated regulatory framework
The Australian Government updated the regulatory framework to ensure:
- Australia’s space regulations meet technology advances
- regulations don’t inhibit innovation
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.
Previous regulatory framework
The previous regulatory framework included:
- Space Activities Act 1998
- Space Activities Regulations 2001
- Space Activities (Approved Scientific or Educational Organisations) Guidelines 2015.
The framework is no longer in force but transition arrangements apply. 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
- guidelines development
Australia has ratified all 5 space treaties:
- Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects
- Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space
- Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies
- Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and other Celestial Bodies
- Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts, and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space
Compliance and enforcement
The Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (the Act) includes offences and civil penalties, including for:
- 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 be considerate of the following 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 on a case-by-case basis. Decisions to undertake enforcement action will be made in a timely manner and proportionate 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.
Connect with us
- Follow us on Twitter @AusSpaceAgency
- Join us on Facebook @australianspaceagency
- Australian Space Agency on LinkedIn
- Australian Space Agency YouTube channel
- Subscribe to email updates
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone 1800 087 367 (within Australia) / +61 2 6276 1166
- Write to us at Australian Space Agency, GPO Box 2013, CANBERRA ACT 2601
- Australian Space Agency
Last updated: 9 September 2021
Content ID: 12666