People in Space: Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab21st Nov 2019
Peter Beck established New Zealand based, Rocket Lab back in 2006 with no obvious experience in space or rockets prior to that, other than some previous work with composite materials and superconductors. It took three years before Beck actually reached space with the launch of a sounding rocket, the Atea 1. A year later the first version of their Electron rocket took a handful of satellites into orbit. Which they continued to do until the present day.
Rocket Lab were the first private company to send a rocket into space from the Southern Hemisphere and are currently one of the world’s most prominent launch companies, with investment from the likes of Lockheed Martin.
With Lockheed Martin having a vested interest in the recently proposed Scottish spaceport, there has been speculation as to whether the Rocket Lab Electron vehicle will be launched from there, although nothing official has been put out into the public domain. It would make absolute sense for Lockheed to use the Electron rocket at the Sutherland site as they already have access to the design and technology and redeveloping a new concept would take time and money.
Peter Beck criticizes the UK Government
Although Beck did controversially criticize the UK Government for even considering building a launchpad, suggesting that the country doesn’t have the geography for it. So, he may end up having to eat those words if he wants to take a slice of the lucrative UK launch business.
Beck went on to establish a company headquarters in California to be closer to the most viable and beneficial customer base, leading to lucrative contracts with NASA amongst others.
Peter Beck is one of those characters that appeared out of nowhere and seems to have done phenomenally well. He is definitely one to watch.