New Zealand has reportedly announced on Tuesday that it is the newest country to sign a space agreement with National Aeronautics and Space Administration, just as the budding space industry of New Zealand starts to take off.
The country became the 11th signatory to the NASA Artemis Accords, a space cooperation blueprint that aims to aid NASA’s plans to return humans to the moon by the year 2024 and to also launch a historic manned mission to Mars.
Nanaia Mahuta, Foreign Minister stated that New Zealand was one of only a few nations that is capable of launching rockets in space.
New Zealand stated that it is mainly interested in ensuring that minerals collected from moon or somewhere else in space are utilized sustainably.
Rocket Lab, U.S.-based firm, specializing in placing small satellites into orbit, made history back in 2017 in New Zealand when it launched a test rocket from the remote Mahia Peninsula into space. In 2018, it started commercial launches.
Peter Beck, founder, Rocket lab, a New Zealander, stated that signing the Artemis Accords was a proof to New Zealand’s expanding role in the space sector and paved way for new collaborations and mission opportunities with U.S. space agency.
In fact, there might be a second launch site in New Zealand. The New Zealand government announced plans of going into partnership with Indigenous Maori to purchase land in the Canterbury, a region in New Zealand, to establish a new space launch site.
Evaluations show that the space industry of New Zealand is of approximately 1.7bn NZ dollars and the space manufacturing makes around 250 million New Zealand dollars a year.
Bill Nelson, Administrator of NASA, stated that the country was one of the seven nations that aided in crafting the principles in the accords and was pleased that they had signed the accord.
The other participants to the accords are the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Luxembourg, Ukraine, Japan, Italy, Australia, the U.S., Canada and Britain. Brazil has also stated its plan to sign the accord.