New space agreement opens door for New Zealand and German collaboration

On: 3 October 2018

New Zealand and German agencies will work together on space related research, activities and technologies following the signing of an agreement at the 69th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Bremen this week.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have signed a Letter of Intent which will see the development of joint research on areas including space systems, earth observation, and transport and energy technologies.

MBIE houses the New Zealand Space Agency, the lead government agency for space policy, regulation and business development, and a number of staff have attended the IAC this week to meet with the international space ecosystem to discuss the rapid changes in the industry and the growth of commercial space activity worldwide.

MBIE’s general manager of Science, Innovation and International Dr Peter Crabtree, who leads the New Zealand Space Agency, says the agreement is another important step forward for the burgeoning Kiwi space sector.

“Our two nations share a rich history of cooperation in science and technology, which was marked last year with the 40th anniversary of the bilateral Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement,” Dr Crabtree says.

“This new agreement offers an exciting opportunity to connect New Zealand’s research institutions with world-leading space scientists and engineers in Germany, and greater support for the ongoing creation of a thriving New Zealand space sector.”

Satellite-based earth observation in particular is of growing importance to both countries, including for environmental protection, navigation, agriculture, and disaster risk-management.

The Letter of Intent was signed by Dr Crabtree and Chair of DLR’s Executive Board, Professor Pascale Ehrenfreund and Professor Hans Jorg Dittus.

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