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Space Agency to track satellites launched from NZ

The New Zealand Space Agency (NZSA) is continuing to build its capability as a regulator of space activity with a new pilot project which allows officials to see real-time information on the orbital position of satellites launched from New Zealand.

The NZSA, housed within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), has partnered with space situational awareness experts LeoLabs to develop the bespoke tool, dubbed the Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform, to track objects launched from New Zealand to ensure compliance with permit conditions.

MBIE General Manager of Science, Innovation and International Dr Peter Crabtree, who leads the NZSA says “Lower Earth orbit is rapidly emerging as the focus of commercial space activity and is home to thousands of satellites travelling at extremely high speeds around the globe, providing us with services we rely on every day.”

The Platform provides independent, on-going monitoring of satellites and will be able to alert the NZSA when a satellite is outside of its regulatory limits and at risk of collision with other objects.

As the commercial use of space increases, regulators around the world are working on ways to manage the risks caused by debris. The development of this type of monitoring capability demonstrates best practice and leadership in the safe and sustainable use of space.