New laws for new space? Using law reform to drive commercial space initiatives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper considers the use of domestic laws, and the consequent need for law reform, to encourage broader engagement with commercial space innovation. It will consider, in particular, the Review of the Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) currently being undertaken in Australia, which examines whether existing legislative arrangements “provide an appropriate balance between supporting emerging commercial opportunities and ensuring Australia meets its international obligations for the use of space”. It undertakes an examination of the history of civil space activities in Australia and addresses the failure of space policy in Australia since the 1960s to encourage the development of a commercial space industry. The example of the early success of Australia as a space-faring nation, being the fourth country in the world to launch a satellite from its own territory, followed by a period of almost complete inertia, provides an excellent case study through which to explore how law reform may drive the development of a commercial space industry. In particular, it considers the early cooperation of Australia in the ELDO project, the focus on being a launch provider and the emerging recognition of the role space research and development may play in innovation and commercial success. This paper looks at how the domestic laws of Australia were designed to implement obligations under the international Outer Space treaties and the impact that decisions made in that legislation may now be impeding the growth of a New Space industry in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecent developments in space law
Subtitle of host publicationOpportunities & Challenges
EditorsR. Venkata Rao, Kumar Abhijeet, V. Gopalakrishnan
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-4926-2
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-4925-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • domestic laws
  • law reform
  • outer space
  • treaties


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