New Zealand Law Society - Outer space bill to become law

Outer space bill to become law

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The Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Bill has received a third reading in Parliament. It will come into force on 21 December 2017.

The bill has the purpose of facilitating the development of a space industry and providing for its safe and secure operation. This includes implementing New Zealand's international obligations relating to space activities and space technology, including the Outer Space Treaty, and managing any potential or actual liabilities that may arise from the space industry. 

The legislation introduces a regulatory regime to govern space launches from New Zealand and by New Zealand nationals operating overseas. It also covers launch vehicles, and payloads such as satellites, and provides a legal framework for high-altitude activities that originate from New Zealand.

Anyone wanting to launch a launch vehicle from New Zealand is required to obtain a launch licence. Another provision requires any New Zealand national who wants to launch a launch vehicle from a facility outside New Zealand to obtain an overseas launch licence.