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Rocket launch gets the green light

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/09/2016

Peter Beck from Rocket Lab. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Peter Beck from Rocket Lab. The government has given Rocket Lab the all clear to start commercial space launches.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says they'll start later this year.

He's signed a contract with the ground-breaking company that allows it go ahead before legislation is passed by parliament.

Rocket Lab, founded by New Zealander Peter Beck, will start launch operations from Mahia Peninsula.

"This contract is an important milestone in the work the government is doing to support the development of a New Zealand-based space industry," Mr Joyce said on Friday.

"Rocket Lab is capitalising on some of New Zealand's advantages such as an attractive location for space launches - we have clear skies, access to good launch angles, a skilled workforce and an innovation-friendly business environment."

Mr Joyce will introduce a bill to parliament later this month that will set out permanent regulations covering rocket launches.

He expects to have it in law by mid-2017.

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