New Zealand, US Reach Technology Safeguard Agreement for Rocket Lab Launches

New_Zealand_coat_armsAUKLAND, NZ (NZ Government PR) — Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Foreign Minister Murray McCully today announced that an agreement has been reached between the Governments of New Zealand and the United States of America covering the safeguards associated with the use in New Zealand of controlled U.S. rocket technology.

New Zealand will have a world class space regulatory framework which includes the Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) with the United States, accession to the United Nations Convention on Registration of Objects launched into Outer Space, and a new law governing space and high altitude activities.

“The TSA which will be signed in Washington this week paves the way for innovative companies, in the first instance Rocket Lab through its U.S. parent company, to launch rockets and satellites from New Zealand,” Mr Joyce says.

“The TSA contains safeguards to protect controlled U.S. rocket and satellite technology while ensuring New Zealand agencies retain the ability to perform their statutory tasks,” Mr Joyce says. “New Zealand has also reserved the ability to prevent a launch in New Zealand that is contrary to New Zealand law or policies.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has designated the TSA as a major bilateral treaty of particular significance and it will be subject to a Parliamentary treaty examination by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.  Both the TSA text and the accompanying National Interests Analysis are being presented in Parliament today.

“The Agreement with the U.S. will provide a platform to build on the long-standing links that exist between many New Zealand and U.S. technology companies. It adds an additional dimension to our close, established relationship with the U.S. while protecting New Zealand’s national interests,” Mr McCully says.

The New Zealand Government has also decided to join the UN Convention on Registration of Objects launched into Outer Space (the UN Registration Convention).

Accession to the UN Registration Convention requires New Zealand to establish and maintain a register of space objects launched from New Zealand and a mechanism to identify space objects, Mr Joyce says. “This is consistent with New Zealand adopting the position of being a responsible launching site.

“The proposed new law, also released today, is required to both implement the TSA and the Registration Convention, and ensure that rocket and high altitude vehicle launches from New Zealand, and the satellites they put into orbit, are done safely and are not contrary to New Zealand’s national interest.”

“The development of a New Zealand space industry is another exciting opportunity for our country”, Mr McCully says. “These agreements will ensure New Zealand is well set up to be a responsible and trusted participant in the global space industry.”