Australia's Space Laws: What Are They Good For?

Image: iStock

It might not be something we think about a lot, but space law is legit and it is important.

With that in mind, Australia is reviewing legislation that governs its civil space activities.

Professor Steven Freeland, Dean of the School of Law at Western Sydney University, is chatting everything Space Law at a public lecture at the Sydney Observatory at 6pm, August 16 (that's this Wednesday night).

"The use of space-related technology impacts upon all our lives, as people around the world are now dependent on technologies such as satellite TV, global navigation satellite systems, satellite broadband and mobile equipment," says Professor Freeland.

"In addition, companies such as Amazon have recently made deliveries to customers in England and New Zealand using drones, raising questions about the safety of airspace and the potential dangers in the event of an accident."

Professor Freeland says International treaties will still govern the broad fundamentals of space law, but any revised or new space legislation in Australia will have to strike an appropriate balance between allowing entrepreneurs to take advantage of new technology, while minimising the risk of collisions in space, and any potential liability.

One key aspect of space law focuses on how countries use space technology in armed conflicts on land, at sea and in the air, Professor Freeland says.

"For example, GPS guided missiles and military drones are now common in modern conflicts, and there’s also the strategic value of outer space to also consider," says Professor Freeland.

"We assume that the major powers are working to develop space-based weapons systems, and some now suggest that a war in space is inevitable, although I cannot accept that."

Professor Freeland's talk will discuss how this rapid technological growth gives rise to complex difficulties in developing appropriate international and national rules to properly regulate what is a highly political, strategic, commercialed and, unfortunately, militarised domain.

There's more info - including how to book a place at the talk, here.

Trending Stories Right Now