Taking full advantage of space
Eric Dahlstrom and Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom came to New Zealand to try something new. They had worked decades on space projects for NASA and commercial companies, and they wanted to help New Zealand take full advantage of space to solve NZ problems. Together with Rich Bodo they formed SpaceBase, were accepted into the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, and have spent the past two years helping grow the NZ space ecosystem.
New Zealand has gotten the world's attention in space activities. RocketLab is preparing to launch their tenth mission to place satellites in orbit, increasing the pace of routine launches for international customers. The NZ Space Agency was formed quickly to support commercial space activities and has demonstrated they can support this rapid pace of launches from NZ, and is establishing partnerships to monitor greenhouse gases from space. A recent study from Deloitte identified the space industry as contributing $1.7 billion to the NZ space economy.
SpaceBase has been conducting a range of programs to make sure the benefits of space extend across New Zealand. They built an online platform with a directory of space related companies and organisations in NZ that was used by the Deloitte study. They have conducted over a hundred briefings and training programs across the country and partnered with educational institutions. After creating the successful NZ Space Challenge in 2018, SpaceBase was the delivery partner for the larger 2019 NZ Aerospace Challenge sponsored by MBIE, Airbus, and ChristchurchNZ. The prize challenge offered incentives for Kiwi innovators to monitor pollution in water or soil using satellites or drones. Multiple solutions were identified to help address pollution in NZ with Seequent being awarded first prize for their system to monitor the health of all NZ lakes using satellites. This is another NZ innovation that has global applications.
SpaceBase is working with ChristchurchNZ and others to plan for future aerospace challenges to solve NZ problems. They are working to better connect the growing space industry and make opportunities for people across the country. While SpaceBase transitions to providing sustainable services to this new industry, the social enterprise is running a PledgeMe campaign to support SpaceBase activities into 2020. The campaign ends 5 December, with the sponsorship of charitable activities receiving NZ tax benefit.
New Zealand space activities has accelerated over the past few years, and SpaceBase is working to ensure the benefits and opportunities of space reach all of New Zealand.
NZ Space Agency
NZ Aerospace Challenge