Alex space centre is given tick
First it was the gold rush, now it’s rocket science.
The Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST), based in Alexandra, Central Otago, has been selected to become New Zealand’s second Regional Research Institute.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced the news in Alexandra on Tuesday.
Joyce said the centre would undertake research to explore the use of space-based measurements and satellite imagery unique to New Zealand to meet the specific needs of regional industries.
‘‘It will establish an international satellite data exchange and collaborate with leading researchers and businesses, both here and abroad, to design, build and launch New Zealand’s first fleet of cube satellites.’’
The Government would provide funding of up to $14.7 million over four years for the new institute with additional funding from industry, and it would operate as a private, independently governed organisation, he said.
Greg Bodeker said it had been a long process, that started as a ‘‘small idea’’ within Bodeker Scientific.
‘‘I think this is going to have national reach, and it’s designed to bring value to all of New Zealand, not just this region. There is also plenty of opportunity there within the Centre for Space Science Technology to be thinking about taking the brains that will be here in Alexandra and the intellectual property that will arise from the activities that will go on and exporting that offshore. I think to bring real value to New Zealand, we need to be thinking about CCST operating in an international market and there is plenty of opportunity for us to do that now.’’
Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan said the centre would be a ‘‘game changer’’ for Alexandra and the Central Otago region.
‘‘This is a game changer for Alexandra and a game-changer for Central Otago. I would put this up there next to the gold rush, frankly. We have gone from gold to wool and meat to fruit and wine and now rocket science. This isn’t just going to be the 23 fulltime equivalent jobs that are going to come to Alexandra. It is going to be those things that come with those jobs as well. This isn’t just $14.7m, this is a game changer.’’
He acknowledged the previous council who contributed $20,000 to support the initiative, as well as the Otago Regional Council.
Alexandre’s Claudia Hammond, 11, Hazel Bodeker, 9, and Alani Lerew, 10, with Lollipop the lamb.
CSST will launch cube satellites.