Sunday, April 14, 2024

US deal to launch NZ space sector

An agreement signed today between the New Zealand and United States governments will provide new opportunities for our space sector and closer collaboration with NASA, says Economic and Regional Development Minister, Stuart Nash.

Minister Nash signed the Framework Agreement with United States Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman.

The signing followed Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and Vice President, Kamala Harris’ welcoming of the completion of negotiations on the agreement during their meeting in Washington, DC on 31 May.

“We have an incredibly innovative space sector in New Zealand. Despite our small size, we’ve become a notable player in the global space industry, and signing the Framework Agreement marks an exciting step for our space sector,” Mr Nash said.

“This is a huge opportunity for Kiwi companies and researchers to collaborate more closely with the US and NASA. It will facilitate space science, technology and cooperation, and focuses on building connections between our two countries’ civil space sectors and research communities.

“A close relationship with the United States is highly beneficial for supporting a thriving space sector in New Zealand. This already includes government regulatory cooperation to enable launches from New Zealand and an active dialogue on space policy issues.”

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern arrives for a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman at Parliament today.

Last month, Rocket Lab launched the historic CAPSTONE Mission in support of NASA’s Artemis Program, the first-ever lunar mission launched from New Zealand soil.

“This was a significant milestone for Rocket Lab and is an excellent example of what can be achieved when we collaborate with our international partners,” said Mr Nash.

“At a practical level, the agreement outlines a number of modes of cooperation, including exchange of data and personnel, flying instruments on aircraft and spacecraft and education and public outreach. These include space science, earth observation, education and space sustainability.”

He said the Framework Agreement will reduce the need to negotiate complex one-off contractual arrangements for specific missions and research projects, and increase New Zealand’s visibility as a priority space partner within the United States.

“This will not only improve our already world-leading research and innovation, but will also positively impact our economy. The New Zealand space sector is worth over $1.7 billion, with a space manufacturing industry that generates around $247 million every year in revenue,” Minister Nash said.

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