Why has Australia had difficulty getting into Space?

Space activities in Australia are subject to national space legislation that involves many different and complex processes. This includes overseas launch licensing, communications licensing and frequency allocation (a process involving a UN ancillary organisation to ensure compliance with international standards). The regulatory scheme also includes ensuring compliance with legislation regarding controlled technologies.

Legislative Overview

The Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) is the mechanism by which Australia incorporates its international obligations regarding the use of space into its domestic law. The regulatory framework for civil space activities in Australia is complex and involves competing considerations including compliance with international law, allowing technological advancement and space activities and utilising space responsibly.

At the end of 2015, the federal government announced a review of the Space Activities Act 1998 and the Space Activities Regulations 2001 to assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of these legislative instruments, considering current and future advancements in space technologies and applications, particularly in the commercial sphere.

The Melbourne Space Program, along with other stakeholders, has made a submission to the review of the Space Activities Act and Regulations as part of the public consultation component of the review process.