In the future, New Zealand will play a role in spacecraft construction by helping NASA print parts in space in 3D.
The US Space Agency will launch the experimental spaceship Archinaut One from the Mahia Peninsula base of Rocket Lab.  Once Archinaut is in orbit, two 10 meter long beams are printed from both sides of the body in 3D, which then unfold two massive solar panels.
The collectors can generate up to five times more electricity than conventional solar cells on spacecraft of similar size.
If successful, the technology could help astronauts avoid risky spacewalks by designing parts for them.
In addition, large spacecraft could be launched in smaller bundles, a blessing for Rocket Lab, which specializes in launching microsatellites.
"The production and assembly of robots in space is indisputable," said Jim Reuter, Deputy Administrator of NASA's Space Technology Missions Directorate.
Archin aut One is due to launch in 2022 at the earliest.