Submission to the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 Draft Rules

This submission was prepared jointly by the Science Party and Taha Khan, who shares our vision for an effective, competitive space sector.

In June 2019, the Australian Space Agency called for submissions in response to its draft rules relating to the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018.

Our submission makes specific recommendations that would strengthen and clarify the draft rules. A copy will appear here in full once the Space Agency has considered and published the submissions.

The rules are legislative instruments that support the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018. They are intended to provide a regulatory framework for space sector participants to apply for licenses and permits, and to be aware of the conditions attaching to them, including financial and insurance requirements.

There were three sets of drafts rules open to comment:

  • Space (Launches and Returns) (General) Rules 2019
  • Space (Launches and Returns) (High Power Rocket) Rules 2019
  • Space (Launches and Returns) (Insurance) Rules 2019

The consultation sought views on the appropriateness of the high powered rockets definition, and any other views on the full set of rules.

Our recommendations were as follows:

  • high powered rockets should be defined by reference to a combination of impulse, active control, and intent-based factors
  • the scope of personal information the Space Agency collects on an applicant's personnel should be limited to the minimal extent necessary
  • foreign agencies should not be included in the list of relevant persons required to be notified
  • weapons should not be launched into outer space
  • the rules need to provide for the concept of reuseable rockets and reuseable vehicles
  • environmental mitigation plans if approved under other areas of government should still be required to meet the environmental plan requirements of the rules given the unique nature of launches

We also called for the rules to be simplified where requirements were duplicated.

The rules are a positive step forward in ensuring the Australian space sector is competitive on the world stage.


UPDATE 5/9/2019: The agency has completed its review and finalised changes to the rules. Read about it here.

 

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