New Zealand and US sign space deal

The New Zealand and United States governments have signed a framework agreement that they hope will drive further opportunities in space and enable closer collaboration with NASA.

New Zealand economic and regional development minister Stuart Nash signed the framework agreement with US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman.

“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 the sector,” 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 US 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.

“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.

Nash added: “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.

“The agreement will reduce the need to negotiate complex one-off contractual arrangements for specific missions and research projects, and increases New Zealand’s visibility as a priority space partner within the US. 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 $1.7bn, with a space manufacturing industry that generates around $247m every year in revenue.”