WELLINGTON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce on Wednesday opened New Zealand's first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island's east coast.
Joyce congratulated Rocket Lab's chief executive and founder Peter Beck and his team "who have worked hard to achieve this," saying in a statement that "it is their innovation and perseverance that has made this day possible."
Joyce said that he was "looking forward to the first launches from Mahia expected later this year, with more to come next year when Rocket Lab launches with commercial payloads."
"Rocketlab is just one of the most visible of hundreds of new generation kiwi hi-tech companies that are rapidly growing high-value exports and leading New Zealand into a hi-tech future," he said.
Rocket Lab is an American company with a New Zealand subsidiary and it was founded in 2006 by New Zealander Peter Beck, the company's CEO and CTO.
Rocket Lab will be a catalyst for other space-related activity in New Zealand, the minister said.
New Zealand is establishing a world-leading regulatory regime to be managed by a new national space agency, located within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Joyce said.
"The new agency has been very busy not only supporting Rocket Lab to navigate the regulatory environment, but also putting in place the foundations for an internationally credible, competitive and well-connected New Zealand-based space industry," he added.
The New Zealand Space Agency will be capitalizing on Rocket Lab launches to help build New Zealand's capacity and expertise in all manner of space-related activities and will support the strategic opportunities that are likely to flow, Joyce said.