In Washington this morning the Turnbull Government signed a treaty with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), reaffirming a commitment made by Australia and the United States of America more than 50 years ago to collaborate on space exploration.
Ambassador Joe Hockey signed the historic Space Tracking Treaty on behalf of Australia, with the Acting Administrator of NASA, Robert Lightfoot Jr, signing on behalf of the USA at a ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C.
The Space Tracking Treaty covers civil space facilities owned by NASA and located within Australia, including the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla, as well as facilities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
There is of course a large, critical, and historic collaboration between Australia and the US on space matters, including the Deep Space Network. Is this a renewal, or a change in understanding? Is it related to the imminent formation of the Australian Space Agency (see Open letter to the Australian Government: why Australia can no longer afford not to have a space agency and SIAA White Paper: Advancing Australia in Space), or perhaps the 50th anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty?
I'm guessing that the signatories mentioned; director of NASA and Australian ambassador are symbolic - that the treaty proper is between two countries, not two space agencies, and other agreements in the form of contracts are used between the agencies.