Permits and licences for space activities
The New Zealand Space Agency regulates launch vehicles reaching outer space, launch facilities, high-altitude vehicles and payloads such as satellites through licences and permits.
Space-related activities that require a licence/permit
The Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 established a licensing regime for space activities conducted from New Zealand or by New Zealanders.
A licence, permit or combination of both is required for the following space-related activities.
- launching a launch vehicle from a launch facility:
- in New Zealand, or
- outside of New Zealand.
- launching a payload from a launch facility:
- in New Zealand, or
- outside of New Zealand.
- launching a high-altitude vehicle (HAV) from New Zealand.
Our regulation of space-related activities aims to create a regime that facilitates growth and innovation while ensuring the industry remains safe, responsible and secure and New Zealand’s international obligations are met.
To foster willing compliance and enable the industry to meet regulatory requirements, we may from time to time produce guidance material to support this.
Safety case guidance
When applying for a high-altitude licence (for a non-aircraft), launch or facility licence you need to submit a detailed safety case.
Our Safety Case Guidance (below) can help you prepare a safety case to submit with your application.
As our regulatory regime evolves we will publish more guidance documents.
Applying for a launch licence
You need a launch licence to launch a vehicle into outer space from New Zealand.
We’re in the process of developing a form you can use to apply for a launch licence. In the meanwhile, contact us if you need more information or want to apply for a launch licence.
Applying for a facility licence
You need a licence to operate a launch facility in New Zealand that is either:
- used for launches by a single launch operator, or
- a standalone facility used by multiple launch operators.
We’re in the process of developing a form you can use to apply for a facility licence. In the meanwhile, contact us if you need more information or want to apply for a facility licence.
Applying for a payload permit
If you intend to launch a payload into outer space from:
- New Zealand, you'll need to apply for a New Zealand payload permit
- outside of New Zealand, and you’re a New Zealand national (or a New Zealand entity), you’ll need to apply for an overseas payload permit.
To apply for a payload permit, complete form APP-001.
If there's more than one applicant, complete form APP-100P as well.
If you need more information about payload permits, get in touch.
Applying for a high-altitude licence
You need a licence to launch a high-altitude vehicle (HAV) from New Zealand.
HAVs are included in the Act so that:
- different technologies that perform similar functions are treated consistently, and
- the legislation will stay current as technology advances.
Examples of HAVs already originating from New Zealand include:
- large NASA balloons and payloads, and
- sounding (or research) rockets.
Exempt HAV activities
Some HAV activities are exempt from needing a licence. These are listed in the regulations and explained in the application guidance document.
Application forms for high-altitude licence
To apply for a high-altitude licence, complete form APP-002.
With your application you must submit a detailed safety case in accordance with Schedule 6, Part 2, paragraph 9 of the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities (Licences and Permits) Regulations 2017(external link). Refer to the Guidelines section for more information.
If the high-altitude licence is to be held by more than one person, complete an APP-100H form for each additional applicant.
If you need more help or information, get in touch.
Additional application forms you may need
Complete this form...
For each individual who has a 10% or more ownership or control interest in the applicant (if applicable).
For each body corporate that has a 10% or more ownership or control interest in the applicant (if applicable).
If any part of the management, oversight or control of each high-altitude payload or its operation — including the ground segment — is being contracted to another person.
To provide evidence — for high-altitude vehicles that are not aircraft — that the applicant is technically capable of conducting a safe launch, including information about each person who has technical capability relied on in the evidence.
If there are multiple payloads in your application.
For applications made under the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 for which there are multiple Overseas Authorisations being submitted for recognition by the New Zealand Space Agency.