Rocket Lab is an American aerospace corporation launching out of New Zealand
Did you know that NZ now has a rocket base? This news seems to have flown under the radar for many. I only noticed it myself a month or so ago. The base is actually situated in Mahia on the East Coast of the North Island, however it was originally planned for the South Island at Kaitorete Spit near Christchurch, also near Birdling Flat and the Radar/Haarp Station there (more on NZ Haarp here and here). The length of time obtaining consents appears to have been the deciding factor about a change in tack. Rocket Lab noted one thing that prevented it from launching close to Christchurch which was the need for a cultural impact assessment from the council. A decision was made to locate the launch pad at Mahia instead. A cultural impact assessment (CIA) is …
“… a report documenting Māori cultural values, interests and associations with an area or a resource, and the potential impacts of a proposed activity on these. CIAs are a tool to facilitate meaningful and effective participation of Māori in impact assessment.”
So who is behind Rocket Lab?
Rocket Lab’s financial backers include Silicon Valley venture capitalists, Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 investment fund and Lockheed Martin. It has received up to $25 million of government funding over five years. SOURCE
The company of particular note there is Lockheed Martin:
Lockheed Martin is one of the largest companies in the aerospace, defense, security, and technologies industry. It is the world’s largest defense contractor based on revenue for fiscal year 2014. In 2013, 78% of Lockheed Martin’s revenues came from military sales; it topped the list of US federal government contractors and received nearly 10% of the funds paid out by the Pentagon. In 2009 US government contracts accounted for $38.4 billion (85%), foreign government contracts $5.8 billion (13%), and commercial and other contracts for $900 million (2%).
Last November (2016) saw the ‘celebration’ of the NZ Navy’s 75th year.
The launch pad is stated in the following article to be, environmentally friendly, which is heartening indeed given our environment that masquerades as ‘clean and green’ still is in reality pretty much trashed. And regarding partnership with the world’s “largest defense contractor, let’s not kid ourselves, can never be termed ‘friendly’ in any sense of the word, given the carnage we are witnessing daily in terms of civilian deaths, if you happen to read alternative media that is. The US is a nation that has taken defense to its ‘finest’, witness the armchair ‘warriors’ who expunge families with small children from thousands of miles away with drones. Lest you think I am being too harsh on these entrepreneurial people who will no doubt be supplying jobs to local folk (the usual candy cum rationale proffered by corporations) the deciding factor for me is the funding from the said weapons corporation. They won’t be helping fund this because they’re really keen to supply Gisborne locals with employment. We all know this is not the way of corporations. Neither will the Government/corporation be … corporations are about profits not people. If the Government really had a mind to help people they would not make hard working families on minimum wage pay more tax than themselves. Neither would they let corporations off with tax. To see how much they are let off watch Bryan Bruce’s ‘Mind the Gap’ doco on child poverty.
Mainstream media tends to not overly highlight the deaths of little children and their parents in the many global conflicts. It gives war a bad name and they, including our Government/corporation, prefer to re frame and name it as ‘defense’. This is what John Key committed $20 billion of your money to last year (Kiwis) … not war … ‘defense’. They are defending us from Isis and similar terrorist threats that their friends in the US helped to create. And the US’s Madeleine Albright thinks the death of 500,000 Iraqi children was still “worth it”. The British Royals are not averse to trading in weapons either.
Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest weapons manufacturer and supplier to such regimes as Saudi Arabia, a country that today stands accused of using these very weapons to commit war crimes.
NZ Herald 14.06.2016
On Tuesday 27 September 2016 a member of the public in Wairoa expressed concerns at the Wairoa District Council meeting:
The person “…..enquired as to when the first rocket will be launched and what assurances Council has that satellites launched won’t be used for spying or military activities…. Rocket Lab has installed the launch platform at the private orbital launch under development on Māhia Peninsula. The installation of the almost 50 ton platform is the final major step in preparing the site for the arrival of the first electron launch vehicle, scheduled to be tested in the coming months. The New Zealand Government has announced the development of a new regulatory regime for space and high altitude activities. It will ensure the development of a peaceful, safe, responsible and secure space industry that meets New Zealand’s international obligations.” SOURCE
Now that should put all of our minds at rest. The NZ Govt “will ensure the development of a peaceful, safe, responsible and secure space industry that meets New Zealand’s international obligations.”
Nothing to see here ….
Anyway, that said, here is an article from 2015 on the launch pad:
Rocket Lab chief commits to protect environment
The company proposing a rocket launch pad on Canterbury’s coast says it is committed to protecting the environment.
Rocket Lab’s proposed site on Kaitorete Spit was officially unveiled this morning in front of Prime Minister John Key and representatives from the Department of Conservation.
You may well be asking, why a rocket launch pad?
“Rocket Lab’s mission is to remove the barriers to commercial space by providing frequent launch opportunities to low Earth orbit. Since its creation in 2006 by Peter Beck, Rocket Lab has delivered a range of complete rocket systems and technologies for fast and affordable payload deployment.”
Blessing of the site
View a video of the blessing of the site in 2015 from the Gisborne Herald:
“THE final frontier could be conquered as early as next June, when Rocket Lab expects to begin launching test rockets into space from its Mahia Peninsula site. For Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck, launching his first 16m Electron rocket into space from what will be the world’s first commercial orbital launch site is a life-long dream.”
On Saturday the remote site on Onenui Station was blessed and the lease agreement signed between Rocket Lab and the landowners — representatives of Tawapata South Incorporation.
So we in NZ are now third highest in the developed world for child poverty. We had 41K homeless last time I looked, and 33K empty homes in Auckland belonging to people who don’t even live here. This is the way of Neo-Lib economics. It doesn’t care about children, it doesn’t care about families, it doesn’t care about the vulnerable. NZ has spent $25 million on this pad, the country that is now a haven for the rich who seek to escape the fallout from their oppressive economic activity… and in light of all that, a rocket launch pad is great news. It really reminds me of a recent meme I saw. A politician leans in to a sleeping homeless man and says … “wake up … I’ve got a tax break for you”.
Header image credit: Wikipedia