Space is of immense strategic importance around the world and the global space economy is a multi-billion dollar business.

The global space economy is rapidly evolving, due to advances in technology such as those which lower the costs of building satellites. We rely on data coming from satellites to make our world a better and safer place and to provide services that we all benefit from, including in banking, transport, telecommunications, security, and climate change monitoring.

Rocket Lab, a US company with a New Zealand subsidiary has established the world’s first private orbital launch range located on Mahia Peninsula and plans frequent commercial launches carrying satellites.

Read the government commissioned report by Sapere on the estimated economic impacts from one space launch operator.

However, there is also other space activity happening in New Zealand:

  • The Government-funded Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST), based in Alexandra, has plans to develop satellite data products to drive regional economic growth.
  • NASA has a super-pressure balloon programme launching from Wanaka in the South Island.
  • We’re interested in advancing areas where New Zealand has existing strengths using and applying space-based data such as in agri-technology, hazard management, oceanography and meteorology.
  • We intend growing our satellite design and manufacturing capability and our space science, technology and engineering research activity.

We want everyone to take advantage of the opportunities that our participation in the global space economy has to offer. Find out more about New Zealand’s attraction as a great place for space activities.

Why New Zealand

We offer an attractive location

New Zealand has some of the largest selection of launch angles (azimuths) for rocket launches in the world. Our remote location is also an advantage, giving us clear skies and seas, and relatively low levels of air traffic.

This creates opportunities for frequent launches – a game-changer for a world that has an insatiable demand for the data captured by satellites, and for testing new technologies. Enhanced connectivity and skilful management of earth’s resources is more possible than ever.

We’re a great place to do business

We have a reputation for being business friendly. New Zealand has been ranked the top country in the world for doing business in the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business Report - up one place from last year and up from third in 2014.

Our government is confidently backing entrepreneurs already working in space-related activities and welcomes others to join our emerging space industry. This aligns to our goal to develop New Zealand as a hub for high-value, knowledge-intensive businesses through innovation and R&D.

Our regulatory regime is enabling and future-focused

The regulatory regime governing outer space and high-altitude activities is informed by international best practice and developed to meet the requirements of New Zealand’s emerging industry.

The regime is future-proofed to be flexible and pragmatic enough to respond to rapid advances in space technologies, space applications and related market demand; and covers non-rocket propelled activity in high altitudes such as balloons. We are one of the first countries to do this.

It minimises unnecessary prescriptions in the legislation and deals with detailed requirements in regulations. It also minimises compliance costs by enabling overseas licences to satisfy New Zealand requirements.

Our approach encourages space activity and minimises risks to public safety, national security and the environment.

We encourage innovation and R&D

We want to attract entrepreneurs, researchers, international businesses and investors. We are particularly interested in advancing areas where New Zealand has existing strengths in space-based data applied to agri-technology, hazard management, oceanography and meteorology.

Our new Centre for Space Science and Technology (CSST) will be active in this area, helping New Zealand’s businesses to access space-based data to develop satellite data products and solutions.

There are opportunities to grow our satellite design and manufacturing capability and our space science, technology and engineering research activity

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is also leading New Zealand’s involvement in the international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array.

Some of our universities are actively involved in space-related research. Our government agencies, such as Callaghan Innovation are also involved in encouraging Research and Development.

There are a wide range of science and innovation funding streams within government, many of them administered by MBIE; and others by Callaghan Innovation.

Launching from New Zealand

We regulate launch vehicles reaching outer space, launch facilities, high altitude vehicles and payloads such as satellites, through licences and permits.