The Space Institute – Te Pūnaha Ātea – is a multidisciplinary centre of expertise in space science and engineering, including a capability to execute space missions and develop applications. Our institutional mission is to create, disseminate and exploit knowledge to support and enhance the development of the New Zealand Space Sector.

We carry out applied research in space science, engineering, and applications of space data, as well as run educational activities that shape the next generation of scientists and engineers.

We work with national and international establishments, industrial partners and academic institutions, operating in an ecosystem that thrives thanks to the complementary nature of our activities. Working from original ideas, to modelling, to proof of concept (Manufacture, Assembly, Integration and Test), to in-orbit demonstrations, we apply research findings to develop engineering solutions that support the growth of new and existing enterprises.

Through our strategic partnerships, we have direct access to space that enables in-orbit demonstrations of technologies, and we are developing a multifunctional mission control capability to operate satellites and payloads, transforming raw data into useful information.

Our seamless end-to-end capability gives our students an exceptional learning experience, which, enhanced by our close partnerships with industry, puts them in a privileged position to meet the employment demands of a growing international aerospace sector.

Research

Spacecraft microvibrations
and stable structures

Deployable
structures

Correlation/validation of FEM
and virtual shaker testing

Synthetic aperture radar technology development

Plasma micro-propulsion 

Materials Science for
sample return

On-Orbit High Performance Computing

Synthetic protein crystallisation in microgravity

Magnetic thrust vectoring

Space situational awareness

News

Te Pūnaha Ātea partners with industry to grow space workforce

Te Pūnaha Ātea partners with industry to grow space workforce

The New Zealand space industry is taking off in a massive way, but to be the brightest star in the NZ$647 billion global space economy we need skilled workers. Te Pūnaha Ātea – Space Institute, at the University of Auckland is helping to address that need by offering courses that will shape New Zealand’s next generation of space scientists and engineers.

New Zealand’s first satellite designed and built by university students is about to be launched into space via Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle.

New Zealand’s first satellite designed and built by university students is about to be launched into space via Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle.

University of Auckland students conceived, designed and built the satellite which they have named Te Waka Āmiorangi o Aotearoa (the New Zealand satellite vessel) APSS-1. It will be lofted to sun-synchronous orbit at 500 km altitude as one of 30 satellites aboard Rocket Lab’s 16th Electron launch this month. The launch will take place from Rocket Lab’s launch site on the Māhia Peninsula.