Prioritising sustainability in space activities supports Australia in meeting its international obligations and commitments regarding the peaceful use of outer space. It also supports the space sector while mitigating environmental and social impacts.

Australia has a unique environment and culture to preserve and protect through responsible space activities. Sustainability is at the centre of First Nations culture, and space activities can draw on this expertise for their sustainable development.

The Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 regulates space activities conducted in Australia and by Australian nationals outside Australia. The Act is supported by the Space (Launches and Returns) (General) Rules 2019, which includes requirements such as an Environmental Plan for the construction and operation of launch facilities, and a Debris Mitigation Strategy for the launch of a space object.

International agreements

Australia is a state party to the five United Nations treaties on outer space:

Australia is a founding Member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS), which was established in 1959.

Australia is implementing the Guidelines for the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities and is committed to working closely with the space sector on implementation.

IAC25 Sydney

The 76th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) will be held in Sydney from 29 September to 3 October 2025. The theme of ‘Sustainable Space: Resilient Earth’ will set the stage for important discussions such as: space-based application for earth; sustainable space activities; and sustaining life off Earth.

Efforts to deliver IAC25 are being led by the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA), back by the Australian Space Agency and the NSW Government.

Read more
A promotional image for an event.

Defining space sustainability

The ability to maintain the conduct of space activities indefinitely into the future in a manner that realizes the objectives of equitable access to the benefits of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, in order to meet the needs of the present generations while preserving the outer space environment for future generations.

- UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) Sustainability Working Group

Our department recognises the First Peoples of this Nation and their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to the lands, waters, seas, skies, and communities.

We Acknowledge First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Custodians and Lore Keepers of the oldest living culture and pay respects to their Elders past and present. We extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.