US-Australia sign spacecraft technology agreement

The US and Australia have signed an agreement paving the way for US spacecraft launches from Australian soil.

The US-Australia Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) provides the legal and technical framework for US space launches from Australian spaceports while ensuring "proper handling" of sensitive technology.

The US state department said the terms of the agreement were consistent with the countries long-standing partnership as members of the Missile Technology Control Regime.

“This agreement protects sensitive US technology and sets the standard for how others should use such sensitive technology in the conduct of satellite and rocket launches from foreign locations,” it said.

The TSA, which will be launched upon confirmation by both parties that all domestic requirements have been met, is understood to be significant because of its potential to open new commercial opportunities for both Americans and Australians in a range of advanced technologies related to space, including satellites.

The new agreement could also facilitate new commercial opportunities for the Australian aerospace industry and “high-paying jobs benefitting the economies of both countries.”

The US state department added that commercial opportunities would depend on Australian plans for infrastructure development and agreements with private launch firms.

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