by Staff Writers
Wellington NZ (XNA) Oct 04, 2016
The New Zealand government is keeping an open mind on international cooperation in its nascent space program, saying it could be open to future collaboration with China and other space powers, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said Thursday.
Joyce, who opened New Zealand's first space launch site on Tuesday, told Xinhua that the newly formed New Zealand Space Agency had to ensure the country meets a range of international conventions and regulatory requirements.
Opening the privately run Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island's east coast, Joyce said attracting international players would be easier now since the government had established a regulatory regime to be managed by the agency.
"We're opening to partnering with countries around space," Joyce said Thursday in an exclusive interview during an official engagement in the North Island city of New Plymouth.
The U.S.-owned Rocket Lab is a commercial space launch operator using technology developed in New Zealand.
"We have a very good relationship with the U.S. and we have a good relationship with China and other countries and we'll just keep an open mind in terms of all our technology collaborations, but obviously we'll be needing partners," Joyce said.
The government tabled the Outer Space and High Altitude Activities Bill in Parliament this month and it is expected to become law by mid-2017.
It would enable the development of a space industry in New Zealand, and enable regulators to manage risks and implement certain international obligations relating to space activities and space technology.
The Bill would also ensure the country's space industry meets its international obligations, including the Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA), recently signed with the United States.
However, the TSA would not exclude New Zealand from partnering with other nations in space, Joyce told Xinhua.
"It's really important that you don't share proprietary technologies inappropriately with other countries when they come to New Zealand so it is with U.S. technology, but then I imagine with the Chinese it would be the same with any proprietary technologies that they have," he said.
Rocket Lab is to begin space launches from New Zealand this year and is expected to start taking commercial payloads next year.
Source: Xinhua News Agency
New Zealand Space Agency
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