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.

New Zealand is a responsible space-faring nation. The Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017(external link) (the Act) sets out a licensing and permitting regime for space-related activities conducted from New Zealand or by New Zealanders overseas.

How we collect and use your information

We collect information to help us grant licences and permits, as required by the Act. We work with and share information with other agencies to make sure:

  • the public is kept safe, and operations are conducted safely
  • New Zealand complies with its international obligations
  • risks to national security are managed
  • the activity is in New Zealand's national interest.

We manage all information in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1993.

Get help with your application

Contact us before you apply

Contact us if you want to apply for a New Zealand licence or permit, or if you would like further information.

Talking about your application with us means that we can make sure you’re meeting our criteria, and we can process your application more efficiently.  We can help you transfer any sensitive information and will ensure this is protected, subject to relevant legislative requirements.

Email us at:

See a sample application

Read the sample form to see our minimum requirements so your application is complete.

Sample permit application: Application for payload permit (APP001) [PDF, 556 KB]

Payload permit application: Form APP-001: Application form for a payload permit [DOCX, 338 KB]

We may ask you for further information in some situations.

When you need a permit or licence

You must have a permit or licence for the following activities:

Activities Definitions

Launching a payload from New Zealand

A payload is any object that is carried or placed, or is intended to be carried or placed, in outer space

a New Zealand national or entity launching a payload


launching a high-altitude vehicle (HAV) from New Zealand

A HAV is any aircraft or any other vehicle, that travels, is intended to travel, or capable of travelling to higher than flight level 600 or the highest upper limit of controlled airspace under the Civil Aviation Act 1990

launching a launch vehicle from New Zealand

A launch vehicle is any vehicle, the whole or any part of, which reaches or is intended to reach outer space or carries or supports the launch of (or intends to support the launch of) a payload

a New Zealand national or entity launching a launch vehicle from a launch facility outside New Zealand


operating a launch facility in New Zealand

A launch facility is a fixed or mobile facility or place from which it is intended to launch a launch vehicle and includes all other facilities necessary to launch a launch vehicle from (for example mission control facilities)

See section 4 of the Act for a complete set of definitions.

Section 4: Interpretation(external link)

Permits from other jurisdictions

Our regulatory regime is flexible and responsive. If you have licences and permits granted by other regimes, they may already satisfy some of our requirements under the Act. This helps us avoid over-regulating, or duplicating the work we need do to get your permit.

You should provide us with copies (in English) of any licences or permits from other jurisdictions you are relying on, and any conditions imposed when you apply.

Currently, we treat the licences or permits below as meeting some of our requirements, particularly when they address aspects of technical capability, public safety and/or orbital debris mitigation:

  • US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • US Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – where an applicant also holds an FCC licence
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • US Department of Defense (DoD)
  • European Space Agency (ESA)

Contact us if you would like to rely on another jurisdiction’s authorisation as meeting some of our requirements.

Contact us

Apply for permits and licences


We are committed to making sure the industry remains safe, responsible and secure and that New Zealand’s international obligations are met, while also fostering growth and innovation.

We produce guidance material to allow the industry to meet the statutory criteria, and as our regulatory regime evolves we may publish more guidance documents here.

Read our Safety Case Guidance to help prepare your safety case when you apply for a high-altitude licence (non-aircraft), facility licence or launch licence so that it meets our requirements.

Safety case guidance [PDF, 932 KB]

You'll also need to provide an orbital debris mitigation plan (ODMP) if you're applying for a launch licence, overseas launch licence, payload permit or an overseas payload permit. The Orbital Debris Mitigation Operational Policy sets out the approach that we will take when assessing these applications.

Orbital Debris Mitigation: Operational Policy [PDF, 303 KB]

To support innovation while ensuring the safe and responsible use of space, we have developed an operational policy that we will apply when considering applications for payloads of a size less than 1U.

Payloads of a size less than 1U: Operational Policy [PDF, 336 KB]

To guide applicants we have developed an operational policy we will apply when considering whether to require liability and indemnity insurance for licences or permits issued under the Act.

Liability Indemnity and Insurance: Operational Policy [PDF, 181 KB]

To guide applicants we have developed an operational policy we will apply when considering whether an applicant is technically capable of conducting activities under the Act safely.

Technical Capability: Operational Policy [PDF, 360 KB]

Additional application forms you may need 


Complete this form...

APP-200i Additional Ownership and Control (Individual) Detail [PDF, 674 KB] 

For each individual who has a 10% or more ownership or control interest in the applicant (if applicable).

APP-200B Additional Ownership and Control (Body Corporate) Details [PDF, 675 KB] 

For each body corporate that has a 10% or more ownership or control interest in the applicant (if applicable).

APP-600 Additional Contract Detail [PDF, 679 KB] 

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.

APP-400 Additional Technical Capability Detail [PDF, 680 KB] 

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.

APP-700 Additional Payload Detail [PDF, 704 KB] 

If there are multiple payloads in your application.

APP-800 Additional Overseas Authorisation Details [PDF, 676 KB] 

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.

Last updated: 16 December 2019