NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy will visit Aotearoa New Zealand and start their official program in the week beginning 13 March 13 2023.
US Ambassador Tom Udall says that he is very much looking forward to welcoming NASA’s leadership and staff to Aotearoa.
“It is shaping up to be an ‘out-of-this-world’ visit. There is so much partnership between the United States and New Zealand in space cooperation, it has been a real challenge to fit it all into the program,” he said.
The Ambassador noted that he can list a number of exciting developments that have bolstered the sector over the past few years.
“The space internships being offered to young New Zealanders, New Zealand signing the Artemis Accords in 2021, discussions during Prime Minister Ardern’s meeting in the Oval Office last May, and the U.S.-NZ Space Agreement that came into force last November. The developments just keep coming.”
He said that this visit is latest step — or leap– for the space relationship.
“This visiting NASA group will have lots of engagement with emerging leaders in space related disciplines—space science, engineering. The team will visit relevant research projects and existing NASA collaborations in New Zealand. They are making several on-campus visits and will join the announcement ceremony for the latest batch of young Kiwis heading off to intern at NASA JPL – Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.”
He said the group has a particular interest in climate change and partnerships between New Zealand and NASA on climate research.
The group will also engage with relevant industry leaders.
In 2016, NASA’s then-Deputy Administrator, Dr. Dava Newman, visited New Zealand, but this visit marks the first time a NASA Administrator has travelled to Aotearoa New Zealand.