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New Zealand is reviewing its space laws

Te Whanganui-a-Tara – New Zealand is reviewing its space laws through the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017.

The global space economy is worth an estimated $647 billion. A 2019 report found the New Zealand space sector contributed $1.69 billion to the national economy and supports 12,000 jobs.

The space Act regulates launches into outer space, launch facilities, high-altitude vehicles and payloads from New Zealand or by New Zealanders overseas. The review is required under the Act and had to take place three years after the Act came into force.

This technical and operational review will assess the performance of the Act against its objectives and consider how it might be improved operationally.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is leading the review. It will include assessing whether the licensing and permitting processes in the Act and regulations are effectively and efficiently delivering on the Act’s purposes and how they might be improved operationally.

A separate public consultation will begin later this year on New Zealand’s space policy settings more broadly. This will include considering the peaceful, sustainable and responsible uses of space and what this means for space activity from New Zealand.

Government will announce details on the public consultation process for the space policy review later this year.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Rocket Lab plans to launch from Mahia Peninsula a satellite to assess space junk removal technologies for Finnish company Aurora Propulsion Technologies, which is dedicated to the sustainable use of space.

The mission is expected to follow on from three back-to-back launches in August and September, in support of NASA’s Artemis programme. Rocket Lab is a prominent operator in space, building rockets and launch pads that make it easier to get to orbit.

The rocket launch company provides end-to-end mission services. Based in California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures launch vehicles and satellite platforms.


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