The global space economy is now valued at around US$469bn, having increased by more than 70 percent since 2010. This reflects the continued expansion of outer space activities and investment in space programs by an ever-increasing number of nations, marked most recently by India’s history-making Chandrayaan-3 mission, which saw India become the first country to land a module near the lunar south pole. In response, individual nations have begun to develop their own distinct local outer space regulatory regimes, creating the risk of inconsistent and conflicting standards in what is ultimately an inherently “global commons” in outer space exploration. 

In our Global Outer Space Guide, we seek to identify the key trends in outer space investment and activities in key jurisdictions across the globe. We examine the major near-term challenges and opportunities in commercial space investment and the legal and regulatory response by different nations.


             Jurisdictional guides


Foreword authored by James Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA)

The global trend lines are clear – space, already critical to our everyday lives, is becoming a more integral part of the global economy. Manufacturing of small satellites at commercial price and scale, the acceleration of sensor technology from research concept to marketable product, and the revolution of the costs and reliability of space launch have combined to make it feasible for most countries and some companies to operate their own satellite constellations. 

Last year, the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs registered 2163 items launched into space, a tenfold increase from 2016. Rocket launches used to be a once a year activity. So far this year, Space X alone has launched 41 rockets. Its Transporter-8 mission in early June carried 72 small satellites into orbit for a range of government and commercial customers, including three of our Australian member companies.

Space based technology and space-derived data will help not only deliver commercial value and returns for business but will also contribute to some of our most important missions on Earth. 80% of the measures that detect climate change can only be measured from space. Space based sensors can measure moisture content in a leaf, carbon absorption in soil, and detect bushfires as they happen and landslides before they happen. Pharmaceuticals manufactured in zero gravity environments can crystallise in ways they can’t on earth, making it possible to develop new medicines which will target cancer and other diseases in the body more efficiently and effectively. 

Companies and governments already have extensive dependencies on space and space enables much of our everyday economy. Financial transactions, power networks, railways and shipping, even navigating the end of school pick up relies on timing and position signals sent from space. By the end of the next decade more large companies and organisations will have a Chief Space Officer to manage their equities and interests in space infrastructure, as well as their vulnerabilities.

The complex international system of regulations, norms, and practices that governs activities in space is evolving, but nowhere near as rapidly as necessary to keep up with technological developments or the scale of new space activity. None the less, a few key principles remain constant in space. 

Space is inherently international: in all but the most sensitive national security missions, international collaboration is the norm.  Space is dual use: almost every commercial or civil capability in space has a potential national security application. Space delivers the unexpected: whether it is wearable wireless technology from the Apollo mission powering your smartwatch or insights into interplanetary worlds. And space must remain sustainable.

The Space Industry Association of Australia is delighted to be partnering with Norton Rose Fulbright to bring the global space community together at the International Astronautical Congress in Sydney in 2025 and to support the development of this important resource.


Global Chair and Global Co-Head of Restructuring
Head of Tokyo
Head of Canberra; Partner

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