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Signals in space: Houston, we have a problem - also potential spaceport for Australia and space war?

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

Bringing you the most recent space-related news in this weekly feature.

Australia’s pay rise dispute strikes NASA  

Credit: Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

The workers of an Australia-based NASA tracking station in charge of providing radio contact with up to 30 NASA spacecrafts in space went on strike on the afternoon of 22 November. More than 70 staffs of theCanberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Tidbinbilla, ACT stopped work for an hour starting at 2:20pm to protest the Australian government’s bargaining policy that limits their pay rise. Due tothe strike, a tracking station in California had to work overtime to maintain radio contact with the spacecrafts instead of the station in Canberra. 

Northern Territory could be Australia’s launchpad

Credit: CERES Community Environment Park

As Australia continues to revel in the September 25th’s announcement that it will (finally!) officially have its own space station, more details are beginning to emerge on what it would entail. Recently, it was revealed that Australia’s first ever launch pad for space vehicleswould be built on the Northern Territory’s Indigenous land. This comes as traditional owners of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory finalised an agreement to lease 275 acres of land for the purpose of building a launch facility. The land is deemed suitable due to its remote location and closeness to the equator. 

Outlining the laws of space war

Two leading Australian legal professionals, Dale Stephens and Duncan Blake, are working in conjunction with other experts around the world on a space matter that only a few people would’ve ever considered: What do we do when a war breaks in outer space? Their project involves establishing a manual, which will outline the international law on using military power in spacein a way that wouldn’t cause devastating damage to the Earth and beyond. It is entitled the Manual on International Law Applicable to Military uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS), and its main aim is to “build transparency and confidence between space-faring states”. If you are curious, keep an eye on its release in 2020!

Written by: Markos Hasiotis

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