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Australia and US formalize a Technology Safeguards Agreement

Koonibba test range in Australia. Credit: Koonibba test range

Ibadan, 30 October 2023. – The Governments of Australia and the United States of America have signed an agreement formalizing the Technology Safeguards Agreement between both countries. As a result, the Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) will allow US companies to carry out space launch activities in Australia and protect US technology, including rockets and satellites. The agreement signing occurred as part of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to the United States.

The TSA will consequently help Australia’s domestic launch sector and spaceports to grow. This is as Australia expects US space launches on Australian soil to create new high-skilled tech jobs and supply chains. The US demand for launch will increase investment in launch infrastructure and scale the Australian launch sector. Furthermore, it will expand the market to Australian companies and uplift the entire local space sector.

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, said this is an important milestone, ‘TSA with the US will generate new opportunities and investment for our launch sector and is a signal of the ongoing momentum within the Australian space ecosystem.” Palermo also added, “The TSA increases Australia’s attractiveness as a place to launch from in addition to our geography, ability to access different orbits, wide open ranges, focus on responsible operations and trusted alliances to protect sensitive technologies.”

The TSA puts the US on equal footing with other international partners launching and returning space technology in Australia. However, it does not restrict Australian companies from making home-grown launch and satellite technology and competing in a growing global market. Nevertheless, the TSA is subject to Australia’s final domestic treaty-making process, which should come into force in 2024.

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