Astroscale and New Zealand partner on space sustainability

Astroscale and New Zealand partner on space sustainability

The Japanese company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand’s Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (“MBIE”).

The collaboration, which will include joint technology development and research, will begin with a project involving Rocket Lab and Te Pūnaha Ātea–Auckland Space Institute. It will investigate orbital sustainability and the reuse of launch components.

Specifically, the parties will “define the engineering requirements, policy challenges and associated costs for multi-active debris removal missions with clients that require direct re-entry due to survivability of components”.

The project will assess the mitigation strategy for up to three large debris objects with a single servicer in low Earth orbit (LEO), they say. And it will aim to demonstrate the viability of commercial debris.

“Space sustainability is a global concern that requires international collaboration between industry and government,” said Chris Blackerby, Group COO of Astroscale. “This partnership with the Government of New Zealand underscores the potential to advance the technical, regulatory and business case solutions needed to solve this challenging problem.”

“Astroscale and the Government of New Zealand share a vision for improved space situational awareness and developing on-orbit servicing. We prioritize safety and collaboration in support of the rapidly growing orbital economy and are thrilled to join forces to explore new opportunities for sustainable growth.”

Pictured above is the virtual signing ceremony, which took place on 11 November.

“Astroscale’s cutting-edge technology, combined with their approach to space sustainability matches perfectly with our values as a nation,” said Paul Stocks, Deputy Secretary Labour, Science and Enterprise of MBIE. “For New Zealand this creates new commercial opportunities, and builds the skills and capability of our people.”

“This partnership underlines our approach to the use of space – partnering with the best firms and researchers, to solve big global challenges and enable ground-breaking research and development. We look forward to working with Astroscale to develop and expand the New Zealand space industry, and continue to explore new opportunities for collaboration.”

See also: New Zealand turns to LeoLabs for stewardship of space

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