KiwiSAT Meeting at the 2021 NZART Conference

Present: 13 people were present at the meeting. 8 of them indicated they were committed supporters of the project. A further 20 had indicated by email that they wanted to be kept informed.

Constitutional Issues

The current AMSAT-ZL committee has not met for over a year. There is no Annual Report. There is no Financial Report. So this is NOT an AMSAT-ZL AGM. However, Ian Ashley ZL1AOC said it was mis-reported that he had resigned at the 2019 AGM, so we do still have a substantial number of elected AMSAT-ZL committee members, and we will look into regularising the issues around that committee.


KiwiSAT had started out being an amateur communications vehicle. However, during its development several representations had been made to include scientific facilities, and these are still very significant even though they were conceived more than 10 years ago. In fact, there are many satellites in service which satisfy amateurs’ communications needs, so that the scientific packages are now probably the most significant aspects of KiwiSAT. It was agreed that we need to document a “Value Proposition” which will be the enticement for external parties to invest in the project.

Technical Review

It was agreed that Douglas would send to all present (as well as all those who had expressed interest via email) with the two documents:

Flight Readiness

Although Kiwisat has been operational for over 10 years (from a site in Ponga Road, Papakura) it is not quite “Flight Ready”. It requires:

Launch Costs

It is expected that this cost (depending on who the Launch Provider will be) will cost in the region of $1,000,000 If we have a good Value Proposition, it is not expected that this will be particularly difficult to raise.


The Satellite has been engineered to go into a near Sun-Synchronous orbit, at 850km. The RocketLab vehicles are currently not suitable to do this. The 850km height is the preferred height for several of the installed scientific applications, but also gives a better footprint for communications, and would enable the satellite to continue to be usable for over 10 years. Lower orbits are undesirable because of the risk of damaging the International Space Station, and orbits below the ISS are likely to burn up in 12 to 18 months.

Project Plan

The meeting agreed that a well-planned project plan needed to be prepared. It was also agreed that a realistic Launch Target would be 2026 – to coincide with the NZART 100th Anniversary. Attached is an initial project outline – but it certainly does need to be refined.

Drop Dead date

The meeting agreed that we should move positively to a launch in 2026, but that we should spend the first 12 months proving the viability of the project. If viability was not completed by an AMSAT-ZL AGM in June 2022, then we should abandon the project.


Attached is a first approximation at a project timetable.