NASA and Australia sign extension of space-tracking agreement

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NASA and Australia have signed an extension of the treaty that allowed for the construction and operation of antennas in Australia used by NASA’s Deep Space Network.

Australia’s ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey, signed the Space Tracking Treaty on behalf of Australia, with the acting administrator of NASA, Robert Lightfoot, signing on behalf of the US, at a ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.

The treaty covers civil space facilities owned by NASA and located within Australia, including the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla, as well as facilities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

That the treaty signing was turned into a photo-op, something that previous signings did not require, suggests to me that Australia’s politicians are planning bigger things for their future space program.



  • Dick Eagleson

    Australia seemed content for many decades to follow the British lead and fight shy of all that Buck Rogers stuff, contenting themselves with just being landlords to a few daft Yanks manning listening posts in the outback.

    But that, of course, was before Middle Earth started doing rockets in a serious way.

  • James Mahoney

    With regard to the language in your article referring to “The Treaty covers civil space facilities OWNED by NASA and located within Australia…” it bears clarification that NASA doesn’t “own” the facilities except as defined by the actual treaty, to wit: Pursuant to the Agreement between the U.S. and Australia, NASA only retains title to “equipment, materials, supplies and other movable property acquired in Australia by it or on its behalf at its own expense…”.

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