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NZ Space Agency grants first set of licenses under space legislation

The New Zealand Space Agency has taken the next step in implementing the country’s space legislation with the granting of launch and facility licences to an aerospace manufacturer.

According to a recent press release, the licences are the first to be granted under the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 (OSHAA).

What is required?

They authorised the company to operate from their private launch facility located in New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula for the next five years.

Doing so marks an important step for the regulator of the country’s space sector.

The OSHAA requires that separate licences be obtained for the launch of a vehicle from New Zealand and for the operation of a launch facility in New Zealand. The step is now complete.

Prior to this, the company had been operating under a detailed contract with the New Zealand Government as well as launch licenses from the US Federal Aviation Administration.

This a previous arrangement served as an interim measure while ensuring all the compulsory checks and balances were met.

Having an interim arrangement allowed launching to still commence while fit-for-purpose legislation was being developed.

A space-faring nation

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s General Manager Science, Innovation and International and head of the New Zealand Space Agency Dr Peter Crabtree said that this is a significant achievement for a country that has only recently joined the short list of space-faring nations.

According to him, “As a regulator of a relatively new industry it is vital that our legislative requirements are implemented”

The launch and facility licences formalised the regulatory relationship and provided the company, the Government and the general public with greater clarity and assurance moving forward.

A series of tests designed under the OSHAA was met by the company. These tests were done to ensure launch activities are safe and the personnel are technically capable.

Moreover, the tests checked if the activities are in accordance with New Zealand’s national interests and international obligations, and that orbital debris mitigation plans are in place.

It is absolutely critical for the broader space industry in the country to have strong regulatory systems in place for the long-term.

New Zealand is committed to being a safe and responsible space-faring nation.

This regulatory framework will guarantee that all people conducting outer space or high-altitude activities are operating safely and securely, at the same time encouraging innovation and industry development.

OpenGov Asia earlier reported that NZ entered an agreement to boost UA and space data tech.

The new agreement was to develop capability in the country’s emerging Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and space data technology sectors.

The Letter of Intent sets out a commitment to seek opportunities for the aeronautics and space company to test and trial its UA technologies in New Zealand.

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