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Space age bill passes first reading

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/10/2016

Parliament has passed the first reading of a bill that regulates New Zealand's fledgling space industry.

It lays out safety rules for launches and governs high altitude activities, allowing New Zealand to meet its international obligations.

New Zealand's ground-breaking company Rocket Lab, founded by Peter Beck, will start launching from its Mahia Peninsula sight later this year.

Rocket Lab has developed technology that makes satellite launches much cheaper than any of its international competitors.

The legislation won't be in place by the time Rocket Lab blasts off so the government organised an interim contract that allows it to go ahead.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is in charge of the Outer Space and High Altitude Activities Bill.

"Space is now a global multi-billion dollar industry and this bill is New Zealand's passport to be part of that industry," he said.

"Rocket Lab is capitalising on some of New Zealand's advantages 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."

The bill passed its first reading unanimously on Tuesday and has been sent to a select committee for public submissions.

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