About the Space Institute

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.

To fulfil our mandate, 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 in 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 demands of employment of a growing international aerospace sector.

Our research

Spacecraft microvibrations
and stable 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


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.

Te Pūnaha Ātea researcher leads collaboration with NASA, Air New Zealand and MBIE to collect climate data from commercial aircraft.

Read more about the Space Institute in the 2019 edition of the Faculty of Science’s inSCIght magazine

New professor at Auckland wins major award for cleaning up space junk


Read more…

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