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As the amount of activity in space increases, New Zealand has the potential to become a global leader for low Earth orbit activities.
This year’s University of Otago Foreign Policy School in Dunedin will look at New Zealand and its place as a space-faring nation, and tackle the regulatory, scientific, cultural, and security aspects the nation must consider when moulding its space policy and framework.
School director and specialist space law firm Gravity Lawyers director Dr Maria Pozza said the space industry in New Zealand had grown "momentously" over the past few years, and globally, its importance was increasing with the growing commercialisation of activities.
"While some nations have developed their respective space programmes on military research and design, New Zealand’s space industry lays within a foundation of commercial space activities, which presents both opportunities and challenges.
"The country sits at an important juncture, given both its regulatory infrastructure and unique positioning on the globe.
"However, this means that now, more than ever, New Zealand must work to collaborate with its partners for security, and this is especially true when shaping its own foreign policy."
Along with New Zealand’s own space programme, Dr Pozza identified space debris as an increasingly important issue that warranted increased international concern.
She also said commercial human space exploration was on the rise, more space agencies were being set up, and more nations were now developing their domestic space laws.
The 56th foreign policy school, to be held from July 1-3, will include talks on cyber security in outer space, space tourism, culture and the stars, international law, and other nation’s space programmes.
She said speakers included University of Adelaide military law and ethics research unit director Prof Dale Stephens, Luxembourg Space Agency lawyer Dovile Matuleviciute, University of Canterbury astronomy Emeritus Prof John Hearnshaw, Otago Museum science engagement co-ordinator Toni Hoeta, and Dawn Aerospace co-founder James Powell.
"The school offers opportunities for attendees to expose themselves to a range of ideas and concepts across different disciplines," she said.