“No space for war”: stop Rocket Lab’s weaponisation of space

MEDIA RELEASE: “No space for war”: stop Rocket Lab’s weaponisation of space

From: Auckland Peace Action

Date: March 16, 2021

Rocket Lab’s launch of a US military weapons targeting satellite will be the central issue at a webinar on Thursday, 18 March at 7:30pm. The webinar is the launch of a new peace campaign opposing New Zealand’s involvement in weaponising space.

“Rocket Lab’s launch of the Gunsmoke-J satellite for the US military is causing serious concern given its contribution to US combat operations,” said Eliana Darroch of Auckland Peace Action.

Two webinar speakers will outline the key issues and concerns. Ollie Neas is an investigative journalist who has been researching and reporting on the developing story of Rocket Lab and its embrace of military contracts. Sonya Smith (Ngāti Rakaipaaka) is a member of the newly launched Mahia-based group Rocket Lab Monitor. 

“Rocket Lab is heralded as a pioneering company leading the exploration of space from here on the shores of Mahia peninsula. But is Rocket Lab contributing to wars down here on earth and building weapons in space? Community concerns are rising about what Rocket Lab is really doing, its US military customers and why weapons giant Lockheed Martin is backing the project,” says Auckland Peace Action member Eliana Darroch

“Each Rocket Lab launch must be approved by the New Zealand government. Minister Stewart Nash has the power to stop this in the interest of upholding our treaties and protecting civilians.

Last week an open letter was sent to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern by the Peace Foundation International Affairs and Disarmament Committee advising her that this launch could well violate the nuclear-free law. The Gunsmoke-J satellite could be used to target nuclear weapons as well as conventional weapons systems.

The letter is supported by people and organisations around New Zealand including residents near Mahia — the site of Rocket Lab’s launch pad.

“We don’t want to put people in Aotearoa at risk of becoming a target as a result of these launches. We believe the government should promote peace and justice, not allow private companies to entangle us in foreign wars for private profit.”

The webinar will provide time for some questions, and be recorded to watch later. There is a 100 participant capacity so registration is essential

The webinar will be the official launch for the campaign petition, hosted by Action Station: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/space-for-peace-3/

Webinar details and registration: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/events/no-space-for-war

ENDS

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