Rocket Lab military satellite launch prompts Kiwi petition for peace in space

In March 2021 New Zealand-based Rocket Lab launched a US military Space Missile Defense Command payload ‘Gunsmoke-J’ which will be used for ‘warfare combat targeting purposes’.

It’s highly likely that the ‘Gunsmoke-J’ launch could have breached the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Disarmament and Arms Control Act (1987), says Auckland Peace Action, because technological warfare systems in Space will include nuclear weapons.

In addition, says the group, it could have violated the ‘Approach to payload assessments under OSHAA 2019’ which states that the NZ government will not approve ‘payloads with the intended end use of harming, interfering with or destroying other space craft or systems on Earth.’ 

“We don’t want any more military satellites launched in New Zealand, and ask that the Government should immediately rescind any currently permitted launches and disallow further launches, pending a full review of space-launch regulations in concert with the government-mandated review of the Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities (OSHA) Act 2017,” says Auckland Peace Action on a petition site.

In an open letter to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, The Peace Foundation International Affairs and Disarmament Committee asks her to refuse approval for the ‘Gunsmoke J’ launch.

That letter is supported by people and organisations across New Zealand, as well as residents near Māhia — the site of Rocket Lab’s launch pad, says Auckland Peace Action.

Rocket Lab is now US owned, a major client is the US military Space Force and a key investor is Lockheed Martin the world’s biggest manufacturer of conventional and nuclear weapons.

“The New Zealand government must ensure the OSHAA regulations prohibit the use of NZ for space warfare by these entities with vested interests in the warfare business,” says Auckland Peace Action..

“Stuart Nash, the Minister of Economic Development who is responsible for approving Space launches, should reject further military Space launches, because they contributes to the technological development of warfare in Space, which is contrary to the interest of ordinary people in New Zealand.”

READ MORE HERE: 
NZ rocket launches may breach nuclear-free laws, say peace groups, The Spinoff https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/09-03-2021/nz-rocket-launches-may-breach-nuclear-free-laws-say-peace-groups/

Rocket Lab Monitor – is a group of volunteers focusing on information collection and education https://rocketlabmonitor.com/

Gisborne Herald: Payload disquiet http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/frontpage-featured/20210309/payload-disquiet/