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NZ's first orbital launch site opened

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/09/2016

New Zealand's first orbital launch site has been opened on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island's east coast.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce opened Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on Tuesday, saying it would be a catalyst for other space-related activity in New Zealand.

"I'm looking forward to the first launches from Mahia expected later this year, with more to come next year when Rocket Lab launches with commercial payloads," he said.

Rocket Lab has been developed by its chief executive and founder Peter Beck with breakthrough technology that makes putting satellites into orbit much cheaper than existing alternatives.

Mr Joyce says the government's new NZ Space Agency will establish a world-leading regulatory regime for outer space and high altitude launches.

"It has been very busy not only supporting Rocket Lab but also putting in place the foundations for an internationally credible, competitive and well-connected New Zealand-based space industry," he said.

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