Peter Beck

Summary

Peter Beck is a New Zealand entrepreneur and founder of Rocket Lab, an aerospace manufacturer and launch service provider. Before founding the company, Beck worked in various occupations and built rocket-powered contraptions.

Peter Beck
Beck holding a medal box
Beck receiving the Pickering Medal, 2020
Born1976/1977 (age 45–46)[1]
Invercargill, New Zealand
TitleCEO and CTO of Rocket Lab
Children2[2]
Parent

Early lifeEdit

Beck grew up in Invercargill, New Zealand[3] with two brothers: Andrew and John. His father, Russell Beck, was a museum and art gallery director and gemologist,[4] and his mother was a teacher.[5] As a teenager, he spent time turbocharging an old Mini and launching water rockets.[2] Beck has never attended university.[1]

In 1995, Beck become a tool-and-die-maker apprentice at Fisher & Paykel company. While working there, he self-taught himself and used the company workshop to experiment with rockets and propellants. Using these tools and materials, he created a rocket bike, rocket-attached scooter, and a jet pack. Later, Beck moved into product design department and bought a cruise missile engine from the United States.[2] He then worked in New Plymouth as a project engineer on a yacht.[6]

He later worked at Industrial Research Limited between 2001 and 2006,[2] working on smart materials, composites and superconductors.[6] While working there, he met Stephen Tindall, who later becoming an early investor at Rocket Lab.[7] During his engineer wife stay at United States, Beck traveled to Minnesota and meet with a rocketeer that he had contacted beforehand. After this travel, he founded Rocket Lab.[6]

Business careerEdit

While contacting potential investors, Beck met New Zealand internet entrepreneur Mark Rocket, later becoming a key seed investor to Rocket Lab.[2] Among other early investors into Rocket Lab was Stephen Tindall, Vinod Khosla, and the New Zealand Government.[7] Three years later, in November 2009, Rocket Lab successfully launched the multi-stage rocket Ātea-1, becoming first private company in the Southern Hemisphere to reach space.[2]

Around 2013, Rocket Lab moved its registration from New Zealand to the United States, and opened headquarters in Huntington Beach, California.[2] The company then developed and first launched the Electron rocket unsuccessfully in May 2017.[8] The rocket's first successful launch happened in January 2018, deploying two CubeSats and the Humanity Star.[9] In May 2022, the company attempted to recover an Electron booster with partial success.[10] As of September 2022, the company has successfully launched in total 27 similar missions out of 30 attempts.

AccoladesEdit

In 2015, Beck received the New Zealander of the Year Award in the Innovator of the Year category.[11] In 2019, he is appointed as an adjunct professor for the University of Auckland.[12] Both Rocket Lab and Beck are awarded the Pickering Medal by the Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2020.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "10 things about Rocket Lab". National Business Review. 27 May 2017. Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "To infinity and beyond". The New Zealand Herald. 6 July 2013. Archived from the original on 14 June 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  3. ^ Bradley, Grant (13 October 2016). "Peter Beck: The man with the one million-horsepower rocket". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  4. ^ Smith, Pat Veltkamp (16 February 2018). "Russell Beck obituary: Saying goodbye to a treasure". Stuff. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Innovation Heroes: Peter Beck". Idealog. 16 April 2015. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Walsh, Frances. "Rocket Lab's Peter Beck and Mark Rocket on their space plans". Metro. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b Bradley, Grant (13 October 2016). "Peter Beck: The man with the one million-horsepower rocket". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  8. ^ "New Zealand space launch is first from a private site". BBC News. 25 May 2017. Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  9. ^ Ryan, Holly (21 January 2018). "Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  10. ^ Korn, Jennifer (2 May 2022). "Rocket Lab says it just used a helicopter to catch a rocket booster as it plummeted back to Earth". CNN. Archived from the original on 3 May 2022. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards celebrate innovation". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 8 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  12. ^ Paredes, Divina (3 September 2019). "Peter Beck joins University of Auckland faculty". CIO. Archived from the original on 8 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  13. ^ "2020 Pickering Medal: Rocket Lab". Royal Society Te Apārangi. Archived from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2022.