Saturday, January 21, 2012

Australia steps back onto the global space policy stage

Australia has stepped back onto the global space policy stage, backing the EU plan for an international code of conduct for outer space activities.

The code of conduct is aimed at both minimising and reducing 'space junk' or space debris, which poses a long-term threat to space infrastructure that is vital to most developed nations, including Australia.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said:  "Everything from aircraft and ship navigation, to electronic commerce, communications, climate monitoring and disaster management, not to mention many of our defence systems, all rely on satellites. But all that's being put at risk by the growing possibility of collisions with satellites and space vehicles."

The code of conduct was drafted by the EU, and has the support of the United States, Japan, Canada and Australia, although the United States has suggested that it will not include its military space activities under the code of conduct. Space debris poses a major risk to operational satellites, and is of particular concern to human space flight activities.

Australia has now become actively involved in the negotiations on the code of conduct, in a sign that Australia has once again become actively been involved in global space policy issues, mirroring the recent upsurge in Space activities in Australia.

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