A new treaty with the United States – the Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) – was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 28 February 2024. This follows on from signing of the TSA in the US on 26 October 2023.

The TSA will allow US space technology like rockets and satellites to be launched from Australia. It will make Australia more attractive as a global launch hub – supporting growth across our entire supply chain.

Hover over, or click, the below questions to read the answers

The TSA is…

The TSA is…

…a treaty-level agreement required by the US to allow American companies, government organisations and universities to undertake space launch activities in Australia.

How does the TSA work?

How does the TSA work?

The agreement establishes a binding legal and technical framework for the protection of US space launch technology in Australia to prevent unauthorised access to the technology. 

What is covered by the TSA?

What is covered by the TSA?

Any US space technology launched from or returning to Australia. The technology covered includes:

  • US launch vehicles, including spacecraft and satellites
  • US equipment and data associated with space launch activities

What is not covered by the TSA?

What is not covered by the TSA?

Space launch activities occurring in Australia that do not involve US space launch technology are outside the scope of the TSA.

Does the TSA restrict Australia from working with other countries?

Does the TSA restrict Australia from working with other countries?

The TSA is fundamentally about protecting US space launch technology in Australia. In general, the agreement does not impact Australia working with other countries when no US technology is involved.

How does the TSA impact other countries launching from Australia?

How does the TSA impact other countries launching from Australia?

In general, the agreement does not impact other countries launching from Australia when no US technology is involved. If another country is seeking to bring a launch vehicle to Australia and launch US satellites then the agreement requires Australia to enter into a ‘politically binding arrangement’ (MoU) with that country. This ensures that country will protect US technology in Australia to the same standard as Australia.

Who decides what space launch activities occur in Australia?

Who decides what space launch activities occur in Australia?

All space launch activities occurring in Australia, including those under the TSA, require a relevant Australian licence or permit issued under Australia’s Space (Launches and Return) Act 2018. The Australian Government is the decision maker for all such licences and permits.

How will TSA be implemented?

How will TSA be implemented?

The agreement will primarily be implemented through Australia’s Space (Launches and Returns Act) 2018. It places obligations on the Australian Government for the protection of US space launch technology. These requirements will flow through to companies through conditions placed on relevant licences and permits under the Act.

Australia has a growing network of spaceports strategically located across our country.

An aerial view of Arnhem Space Centre.

Arnhem Space Centre, Equatorial Launch

Yolngu Country — East Arnhem Land, Nothern Territory.

An aerial view of a launch facility in Australia.

Bowen Orbital Spaceport, Gilmour Space Technologies

Yuru Country — Bowen, Queensland

An aerial view of a test range in Australia.

Koonibba Test Range, Southern Launch

Wirangu Country — Koonibba, South Australia

An aerial view of a launch facility in Australia.

Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, Southern Launch

Nawu Country — Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

More fast facts about the TSA

The agreement will make Australia more attractive as a global launch hub and lead to more international launches in Australia. 

No. The agreement clearly recognises Australia’s ambition and intention to develop Australian space launch vehicles and grow our commercial space sector.

The agreement is consistent with the shared non-proliferation goals of Australia and the United States, as embodied in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Guidelines.

Visit the MTCR webpage for more information.

No. Each space launch activity still needs relevant licences and permits by both governments. The TSA signals a positive intention by both governments to approve space launch activities provided that all necessary conditions are met.

No. Australian authorities are not restricted from carrying out their statutory powers, duties and functions under the TSA. This includes emergency situations where Australian authorities may have to respond immediately.

Collaboration on space launch technology is outside the scope of the TSA.

Australian companies will need to seek relevant US export control licences and permits to collaborate on and transfer US space launch technology.

The treaty-level agreement was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 28 February 2024 for consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).

It will remain tabled until 03 July 2024, pending a recommendation from JSCOT on binding treaty action.

The Australian Government does not charge fees for the licencing of space launches and returns in Australia, including for US space launch activities. Indirect fees and charges, such as customs duties and tariffs on the importation of US technology, are not in scope of the TSA. General support to the Australian space sector is not impacted by the TSA.

No. The TSA can be brought into effect without amendment to any Commonwealth, state or territory laws and regulations.

The agreement ensures that Australian authorities are not restricted from carrying out their statutory powers, duties and functions. This includes entering into Segregated and Controlled areas where necessary.

Yes. The agreement does not place any barriers on Australian companies launching US satellites from Australia. Each space launch activity still needs relevant licences and permits by both governments.

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.