• Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Space laws overhauled as military expert warns of threats to satellites

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by dreamer4eva, Jun 14, 2018.

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    Australian technology firms will face fewer legal barriers to launching high-powered rockets into space under changes to be spruiked by the Turnbull government at a major space conference in Canberra.

    A top defence expert meanwhile says Australia can help the United States make its crucial military satellite system more resilient in the event of a conflict with major adversaries such as China or Russia.

    Jobs and Innovation Minister Michaelia Cash will tell the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s major space conference on Thursday that the government is overhauling the two decade-old laws covering space ahead of an expected boom in the space industry.

    The changes introduced to the Parliament recently would cut “red tape for space-related businesses in Australia, particularly when it comes to launches and returns”, she says, according to speech notes provided by her office.

    “These updates include new arrangements to facilitate the safe launch of high-powered rockets and the safe launch of rockets from aircraft in flight,” she said.

    Australian firms are developing cheap, small, high-volume cube satellites as part of a flourishing private space industry globally. But no Australian companies are launching satellites, meaning they have to join queues with overseas companies.

    Senator Cash said the opening of the Australian Space Agency on July 1 would open doors for Australian firms by partnering them with big international space missions and programs.

    Australia’s space industry should triple to about $12 billion in size by 2030 and create up to 20,000 new jobs, Senator Cash said.

    The space conference will include top defence brass and industry leaders from Australia and the US, with a heavy focus on the military and strategic issues around the growing use of space.


    Malcolm Davis, a defence expert at the institute, said China and Russia were developing ways to attack US satellites, which are crucial to the ability of Australia’s major ally to fight wars - as well as to its economy.

    Russia and China are both developing ways to attack other countries satellites from the ground, from orbit and through cyber means, Dr Davis said.

    Australia, by being prepared to launch replacement satellites in the event that US capabilities were neutralised, could play a role in deterring adversaries’ efforts to take out US satellites, he said.

    “The US and its allies are now rapidly scrambling to find ways to deter countries like China and Russia from the use of these weapons, and mitigate the effectiveness of them,” Dr Davis said.

    “Australia can step in to play a role.”

    He said that satellites were essential to the US’s and Australia’s military advantages

    “If we lose control of space, we lose the war and we lose it quickly. Our systems are so dependent on space systems … that if we lost access to satellites, suddenly we’d be deaf, dumb and blind.”

    Senator Cash says that as an advanced manufacturing nation that already has substantial satellite expertise and space-related ground infrastructure, Australia “already possesses the capabilities required to be a global player”.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/...of-threats-to-satellites-20180613-p4zl7e.html
     
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