Rocketlab to be considered a New Zealand (Kiwi) launch


A topic dedicated to why Rocketlab should be considered a New Zealand (Kiwi) launch.
Us Kiwi’s are use to Australians trying to claim our successes as their own… now the American’s are trying it.
So I’ve decided to start this topic, to put forward the case that Rocketlab’s New Zealand launches should be considered New Zealand…
Anyone’s support for or against is welcome.



The company logo has New Zealand right in the middle of it…


Watch from 1.00min in…
Mission Control is located in Auckland, New Zealand… For launches at both LC 1 (Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand) and LC 2 (NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, USA).

Also, worth pointing out… Rocket Lab’s ability to launch up to 120 times annually from the world’s only private launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, in New Zealand.

Launch Complex 2 [Wallops] will be capable of supporting monthly orbital launches and is designed to serve US government and commercial missions. The site brings Rocket Lab’s global launch availability across two launch complexes to more than 130 missions per year.

Simply put… mission control is in New Zealand and over 90% of capacity will be from New Zealand.


must say the engines are built in the US but the fuselage and current assembly (for NZ Launches) happen in NZ this is no different than the US rockets that use Russian engines. I too feel that the rockets launched from NZ although under FAA permits are NZ rockets and launches.


I feel the FAA permits are purely done for transparency… it would make sense for them to get FAA approval from the largest and most knowledge body…
New Zealand being so small, our FAA (called CAA) doesn’t have experience with space.


indeed neither does our CAA i expect to start with at least a similar situation will be in-place IF the Scottish launch site goes live.


If it launches in Scotland, we helped invent some parts.

Carbon fiber invented in Britian
LNG invented in Britian
Lineral motors invented in Britian
Radar tracking invented in Britian
Some gyroscopic balance invented in Britian
Peroxide microthruster invented in Britian
some Satellite services developed in Britian


@Scott_Hewitt So would you have Rocketlab’s vehicles launched from Virginia count for US or New Zealand (bearing in mind that in this case, it’s an American company launching from American soil)?

What if it’s a company incorporated in America, owned by a Brit, and launching from United Arab Emirates (as with future Virgin Galactic spaceports)?


Okay as I have said before on live broadcasts … more than once … all ships that ply the ocean … all airplanes that cross the sky … and all rockets that pierced the sky … and all satellites that occupy the sky are licensed by one nation or another. It does matter where the ship, the airplane, the rocket or the satellite originates from, what matters is which nation’s international maritime or aerospace law flag it sails or files under.

Rocketlabs, as far as I know, flies its rockets under the flag of the United States of America (period). Therefore Rocketlabs launches are USA. They could be launched from any place on Earth, as long as its under the USA license then it is a USA launch.


Many vacation cruise liners are sail under the flag of Liberia, why, because Liberia is cheap. Nevertheless Liberia is an internationally recognized country and therefore all is cool.


The thing for me, is that this isn’t just a black and white case. No real precedent has been set regarding private launch companies, especially like this.

See, as I read this… This a New Zealand company funded by Americans incorporated in America to be close to its market and probably by most part for market approval and knowledge.
It would make Rocketlab harder to survive being a New Zealand owned and operated company whos on the opposite side of the world to all it’s customers… being so isolated from all major markets. So would make business sense to be inc in your largest market.
Thats one reason why I feel this falls into the grey area and suggested New Zealand launches be considered a New Zealand launch and American launches be considered American. Hence I’m not taking anything away from the American part of the business… but what’s being suggested is taking away the New Zealand part of the business, which at its core, is what makes Rocketlab, Rocketlab.


I understand your maritime analogy… what you have to remember is maritime law has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years… space is relatively new and alot of countries aren’t equipped to handle it… yet.
New Zealand doesn’t have a FAA relating to space. If Rocketlab was to only get ‘NZFAA’ approval it would probably need to make the legislation and regulations itself because there wouldnt be any. And they would be waiting years for it to be developed. Would it not make sense to get approval where your largest market is, where the most knowledge FAA is and a place where you will eventually fly out of and get government contracts from.

As I see it Rocketlab flies under a US and NZ flag…

Although for a cheeky point… there’s a sliver fern ontop of the rocket which is the equivalent of the New Zealand flag… so literally speaking it flys under a NZ flag.


If Rocketlabs is flying from NZ with NZ authority, then cool … there you go. If Rocketlabs is flying from NZ but under USA flag and international recognition that it is flying under USA jurisdiction then it is flying as a USA rocket.


Rocketlab flying from NZ would require authority from the CAA to launch it vehicles… but is also getting approval from the FAA. Remembering NZ has no ‘jurisdiction’ regarding space.
If Rocketlab only had FAA approval it wouldn’t be able to launch… however, if it only had CAA approval it would be allowed to launch.

What would happen if in 20 years time when space is becoming more and more occupied by private launches, the UN comes to an agreement that their should be an international FAA regarding space and launch approvals/jurisdiction…

The point Im trying to raise is that I dont think this should be the only consideration…


I think TMROs idea is that this is more of a “money where your mouth is” scenario. If an Electron rocket fell on someones boat for example, who would wind up in court? The one that gets the blame also deserves the credit.

In any case, maybe what we’re doing here is comparing apples to oranges. Maybe what we need is different launch listings that keep track of different statistics.

For example, we could keep the current one that keeps track of launches by nationality. It has an Olympic games vibe that everyone seems to enjoy.

Meanwhile, we could also have one that keeps track of launches by launch site. Certainly, keeping track of launch rate by location would give a better idea of the development level of a given site. Cape Canaveral for example with its dozens of launch pads is going to be pretty hot stuff. The Mojave Spaceport, not so much. In the upcoming ramp up of production, the New Zealand location is going to overshadow everything and quickly race to #1. That should give them plenty of justly deserved credit.

Perhaps, we should even be tracking launch mass to LEO. In this metric, New Zealand is going to do very poorly. Eventually, once BFR starts launching, the Boca Chica site is going to dominate this category.

There could even be categories for launch mass to GTO, GSO, lunar orbit, lunar surface, interplanetary space, Mars orbit, and Mars surface. Currently, this last one would have only one country on it… so sorting by launch site would be a lot more informative.


I agree with alot of what you said… and this an apples and oranges situation as there is no precedent. This is why I’m trying to put forward my point…
And I understand TMRO’s idea behind the “money where your mouth is” situation. But with a launch from New Zealand if anything was to happen, i.e falling from the sky or hitting a boat. It would most likely be occurring in New Zealand waters and would fall under the NZ CAA. Although considered international waters a country has an economic exclusive zone of 200 nmi (370 km) out from its coastal line… The US FAA has no jurisdiction in this zone.
Now if something was to occur in space, thats another question. Like I’ve said NZ has no experience or the capacity. But I dont see why this is the defining reason to call a company that is at its heart Kiwi (NZ) an American launcher.


Ouch… I know I shouldn’t poke like this, but does this mean all Ariane 5 launches now need to be moved to the French Guiana column? And the SpaceX Falcon 1 launches moved into the Kwajalein column? Yep, I hesitate clicking that “Reply” button on this one. :slight_smile: Because I know the responses. :slight_smile:

I wonder if a more meaningful metric might be by launch “company” instead of by “country”? Or just defer to something more visual like this example which uses various metrics: 2017 in spaceflight - Wikipedia


The U.N: Whoever launches, that state is responsible, even if private sector satellite.



:smiley: …and, soon we will have launches from Moon, #themars and technically even from an asteroid (once Hayabusa2 briefly lands, it will rise up /launch/ again). So we need to add even more columns to the list.

I suggest leaving the categorization how TMRO currently has it. :sunglasses:


I guess the point Im trying to raise is exactly that. Ariane 5 aren’t classed as French Guiana and I agree with this.
That definition of ‘money where your mouth is’ or launch location doesn’t always work.
Ariane 5 is a product of ESA and is European. Made in Europe, controlled by Europe, funded by Europe, launch control in Europe and at in its heart European. Government controlled enterprises are easier to define.
Private launch companies are little different. But still… Spacex is an American company, funded primarily by Americans, designed by Americans, made by Americans, lauch control in America and in its heart American.
This is why I think Rocketlab is different and more difficult to decide. A New Zealand foundered company registered in America, designed primarily by New Zealanders, funded by America and New Zealand, manufacturerd at location (can be USA & NZ), launch control in New Zealand and for the most part in its heart is New Zealand.
Thats why im suggesting New Zealand launches be classed as New Zealand. Not based simply on location, or CAA or FAA or where a company is registered.

This is a company that proudly shows a USA and New Zealand flag together. I just hate to see New Zealand not recognized for it launches based on a technicality that isn’t well defined.