New Zealand latest nation to sign space agreement with NASA
- New Zealand
New Zealand became the eleventh signatory to the Artemis Accords, a blueprint for space cooperation and supporting the U.S. space agency's plans to return humans to the moon by 2024 and to launch a historic human mission to Mars.
"New Zealand is committed to ensuring the next phase of space exploration is conducted in a safe, sustainable, and transparent manner and full compliance with international law," Mahuta said.
New Zealand said it's particularly interested in making sure that minerals are taken from the moon or elsewhere in space are used sustainably.
California-based company Rocket Lab, which specializes in putting small satellites into orbit, made history in New Zealand four years ago when it launched a test rocket into space from the remote Mahia Peninsula. It began commercial launches in 2018.
Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck, a New Zealander, said signing the accords was a testament to the country's growing role in the space industry and opened the door for collaboration and mission opportunities with NASA.
There could also soon be a second New Zealand launch site. The government announced Tuesday it was partnering with Indigenous Maori to buy land in the Canterbury region to develop a space launch site.
"Outer space is getting crowded,'' Nelson said. " As more countries establish a presence in outer space, via research stations, satellites, or even rocket launchers, these accords provide a set of principles to create a safe and transparent environment that inspires exploration, science, and commercial activities." The other signatories to the accords are the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and Ukraine. Brazil also said it plans to sign.
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