We are the front door for space activity in New Zealand – the lead government agency for space policy, regulation and business development.
For a quick read go to our fact sheet – Development of a New Zealand-based space industry [PDF 297KB]
We are the lead government agency for commercial use of space, space policy, regulation and business development in New Zealand.
We were set up in April 2016 within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to enable development of a New Zealand-based space industry. MBIE is the Government’s economic growth and innovation agency and has regulatory expertise across multiple areas.
- Support rocket launches
- Enable space-related business, science and innovation
- Engage internationally
- Space policy and strategy
We are building a regulatory regime that provides for the safe, responsible and secure use of space from New Zealand. The Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 will commence on 21 December 2017. In addition the supporting regulations (Outer Space and High-altitude Activities (Licences and Permits) Regulations 2017, Outer Space and High-altitude Activities (Definition of High-altitude Vehicle) Regulations 2017) will come into force on this date.
Rocket Lab, a United States (US) corporation with a subsidiary in New Zealand has established the world’s first private orbital launch ranges on the Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of New Zealand.
Rocket Lab’s mission is to remove the barriers to commercial space by providing frequent launch opportunities to low Earth orbit. Rocket Lab conducted their first test launch in May 2017 with further commercial launches planned from 2018.
New Zealand is an attractive place for space-related commerce.
We are growing a space industry that is internationally credible, innovative and competitive. We want our economy to realise the economic, social and environmental benefits associated with the use of space.
- We are the location of choice for New Zealand’s first ever commercial rocket launcher – Rocket Lab.
- We are an attractive place for the launching of high altitude balloons. Check out NASA’s super-pressure balloon activity in Wanaka in the South Island.
- The Government-funded Centre for Space Science Technology, based in Alexandra, has opened with plans to develop satellite data products, to drive regional economic growth.
- We’re interested in advancing areas where New Zealand has existing and emerging strengths including developing and applying space-based data such as in agri-technology, hazard management, oceanography and meteorology.
- Over time there may be opportunities for New Zealand businesses and other organisations to develop capabilities in a range of space related areas such as satellite design and manufacturing and space science, technology and engineering research activity.
Our international engagement programme includes visits to, and discussions with, other national space agencies, potential investors and entrepreneurs and other government regulators.
We have joined international space forums such as the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and are signing up to the United Nations Registration Convention.
New Zealand is already a party to three United Nations space treaties:
- The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the Outer Space Treaty) which was ratified by New Zealand in 1968
- The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the Rescue Agreement) which was ratified by New Zealand in 1969
- The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the Liability Convention) which was ratified by New Zealand in 1974.
We have signed a bilateral agreement with the United States (US) Government for space launches using US technology in New Zealand called the Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA). We also have a bilateral agreement with the European Space Agency.
Read the documents
- Accession to the United Nations Convention on Registration of Objects launched into Outer Space (May 2016) - Cabinet paper [PDF 558KB]
- Registration Convention - National Interest Analysis [PDF 49KB]
- Accession to the United Nations Convention on Registration of Objects launched into Outer Space (May 2016) - Cabinet minute [PDF 584KB]
- Membership of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space - COPUOS (May 2016) - Briefing [PDF 2.1MB]
- The Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) [PDF 117KB]
- The Technology Safeguards Agreement Side Arrangement [PDF 100KB]
- The European Space Agency/New Zealand Arrangement [PDF 138KB]
We have a work programme of strategic advice and policy development which includes assessment of, and advice on, the opportunities and risks associated with the use of space, and the role of government.
We believe New Zealand can become a significant player in the global commercial space launch industry. However, the opportunities for New Zealand are much broader than launch activities.