News | February 9, 2024

The Tāwhaki National Aerospace Center Provides Important Impetus To The Aerospace Industry

Christchurch , New Zealand /PRNewswire/ - Aotearoa has cemented its place in the global aerospace industry with today's opening of the Tāwhaki National Aerospace Center and new sealed runway at Kaitorete.

The new infrastructure, coupled with technical support, will provide a boost to Aotearoa's rapidly growing aerospace sector and help meet international demand.

Domestic and international companies are already testing and trialling cutting-edge technologies in Kaitorete, just 50 minutes' drive from Christchurch city centre .

US company Wisk Aero recently conducted its world's first airspace integration test flights for an unmanned aircraft from Kaitorete, and Dawn Aerospace and Kea Aerospace will now be able to conduct horizontal space launches and stratospheric flights from this location.

The new 1 km runway and planned hangar facilities were funded with a $5.4 million grant from the New Zealand Government's Regional Strategic Partnership Fund, managed by Kānoa. There is also a paved runway and fuel station, a grass runway, a vertiport, office facilities and data connections.

Tāwhaki board member David Perenara-O'Connell said Kaitorete's mana whenua (indigenous people) were proud to be at the forefront of supporting the country's aerospace sector and acknowledged their partnership with the New Zealand Government under Tāwhaki Joint ventures.

“To fully activate the sector and supply chains and realize the economic benefits for all New Zealanders, a collaborative approach is required. We are grateful for the support of our government, local authorities, regulators, aerospace partners, research and scientific communities and suppliers who share our vision of a world-leading hub for innovation and exploration."

“We believe this mission is truly unique. The way we combine mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge) with cutting-edge innovation in aerospace and environmental restoration marks a new era of sustainable land use."

Aotearoa is one of the top countries for space launches and aerospace testing and testing, with an advanced and responsive regulatory environment, small population and low air and maritime traffic.

Kaitorete offers clear skies and access to a wide range of orbits from a vast, unpopulated, flat strip of land 25 km long, nestled between Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and the Pacific Ocean. The proximity to world-class universities, international airports and seaports and advanced manufacturing capabilities in nearby Ōtautahi Christchurch is unique in the world.

Tāwhaki chief executive Linda Falwasser said the joint venture was taking a phased approach to its developments, which had the potential to support vertical spaceflight in the future.

“We have one of the world’s best aerospace locations and we are prioritizing critical infrastructure alongside the rejuvenation of this special whenua (land). This also includes research into solar energy and the production and storage of green hydrogen on site."

"We have received strong global demand for a location that delivers technical excellence while adhering to the values ​​of protecting and preserving our people and our planet."

"Having this critical infrastructure so accessible is a huge benefit to the entire sector," said James Powell , co-founder of Dawn Aerospace. "It will significantly advance the development of our rocket-powered aircraft, the Mk-II Aurora."

Kea Aerospace CEO Mark Rocket said Tāwhaki enabled an exciting future for the region and the country.

"Kaitorete is located in an ideal location for aerospace research and development and provides Kea Aerospace with unique opportunities for the flight testing and operation of our solar-powered stratospheric aircraft."

Source: Tawhaki

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