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New Zealand Set to Cooperate with NASA

New Zealand has joined Artemis Accords; an international arrangement to cooperate with NASA on peaceful exploration and activity in outer space, as per news reports. The accords are an international agreement between governments that set principles around the exploration of space, including support of NASA’s Artemis programme to return humans to the Moon in 2024.

NASA is explicitly seeking international collaboration and outsourcing key technology solutions to the private sector. Space exploration not only increases the knowledge of the planet and universe while encouraging research, science and innovation, it also provides economic opportunities for member countries like New Zealand.

New Zealand’s space sector is worth over USD 1 billion and the country’s space manufacturing industry generates around USD 180 million in revenue each year. The government’s economic priorities include supporting firms to make the most of international connections. The Artemis Accords enable the country to prepare for future economic and trade opportunities as well as meeting foreign policy objectives.

To further boost the country’s space programme, Immigration New Zealand said 156 foreigners were granted border exemptions as part of a government-approved programme for an aerospace company in New Zealand.

The aerospace company had focused on bringing in essential workers for its launches, who would usually stay for two weeks after completing managed isolation. For every launch, they bring in a small number of experts to do a range of launch-specific tasks. Satellites are incredibly complex machines and they require a lot of work to prepare for launch, that can only really be done by highly skilled experts, said the company.

They added that they need to bring in about a dozen specialists to help prepare for each satellite launch, and the aerospace company has a launch scheduled every month. Typically, these roles will be satellite integration experts, the people who prepare the satellites to be ready for launch. There are lots of testing and complex processes that must be undertaken usually in the two weeks before a lift-off.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, New Zealand’s space-tech projects include innovative and novel research across a wide range of fields that will allow the country’s researchers to develop critical competencies alongside world-class partners.

The six projects that already received funding are the following:

  • Small-satellite radar to monitor NZ’s oceans and coasts

This is a project of the University of Auckland. The University will be collaborating with German and Canadian researchers to develop a prototype satellite radar system suitable for integration on CubeSat platforms.

  • Space satellite mission design and control

This is also a project of the University of Auckland, which will establish collaboration between the University and the Australian National Concurrent Design Facility (ANCDF), which is located at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

  • Taking biochemistry to new heights: developing nanosatellites for protein crystallisation

A project of the University of Canterbury, it will combine the expertise of their scientists and engineers with those from the University of Auckland as well as with partners from the Arizona State University, the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, and JAXA, to advance research and create new global opportunities for New Zealand’s space sector.

  • Thermal management of cryogenic superconducting magnets in small satellites

This project of Victoria University of Wellington will have the University’s Robinson Research Institute (RRI) working together with the UNSW Canberra Space Group on strategic problems in satellite technology.

  • Development of environmentally friendly, high-performance satellite propulsion systems for replacement of toxic hydrazine

A project by Dawn Aerospace aims to address the problem experienced by traditional propulsion systems for large satellite and space crafts of using a deadly toxic and lethal fuel called Hydrazine, which is extremely bad for the environment, deadly and expensive.

  • Advanced small satellite control systems for collision avoidance and orbital debris mitigation

A project of Swarm NZ Limited aims to create a software platform that will allow satellite operators to reduce the probability of in-space collisions.

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