How technology drives space law down under: The Australian and New Zealand experience

Steven Freeland, Kirsty Hutchison, Val Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The development of space-related technology since the dawn of the space age in 1957 has given rise to many new and exciting possibilities. It has also meant that space activities continue to evolve, facilitating the participation of a variety of space 'actors' other than States. Given the international responsibility of States for 'national activities in outer space' under the Outer Space Treaty, there is an imperative for States to enact relevant and contemporary national space law to regulate those non-governmental space actors within their respective jurisdiction. But enacting national space law is not enough - as the paradigm of space-related technology changes and evolves, it is clear that such shifts require the ongoing review of appropriate national regulatory standards over relatively short timeframes. National legislatures have to come to grips with the ever-changing range of space technology, particularly if they wish to become increasingly involved in space activities. Whatever rules are put in place, either during the initial drafting or the subsequent review process must find the right balance between, on the one hand, the need for regulation of the economic and technical elements, so as to minimize the risks to an acceptable level, and the facilitation of research and innovation to allow for greater and more efficient access to space, and the potential for commercial returns, on the other. This article will describe the current processes in both Australia and New Zealand, outlining how the resultant regulations seek to respond to technological advances in order to meet the specific goals and requirements within each country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-147
Number of pages19
JournalAir and Space Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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