back to article El Reg checks in with Rocket Lab's Peter Beck to see how that hat tastes amid reusable rockets and swelling payloads

Rocket Lab is on a roll, notching up multiple launches and unveiling plans for something considerably grander than its workhorse Electron. CEO and founder Peter Beck has been on a hat-chewing odyssey of late after a rash promise to eat his headwear should the company attempt to do what it seems to be doing these days. The …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Why is that name not familiar ?

    Is Elon Musk taking all the spotlight ?

    This Peter Beck seems to working his ass off to do much the same stuff. I guess coming in second is always a curse. The article says, however, that he's already put 100+ satellites in orbit. That's not nothing.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

      Does he think before tweeting? Do they live stream RUDs?

      All in all, they're pulling in good solid results from their first 4 years of operations and deserve some plaudits.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

        Is he going to be on Saturday Night Live? Not that I will be watching...

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

      You're just not reading the right publications. If you were you'd know all about Peter Beck, Rocket Lab and their amusingly named missions.

      I wouldn't normally reccommend a technically inferior site here but Ars has excellent space coverage, particularly their weekly Rocket Report.

      1. Dabooka

        Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

        Thanks for the tip, I'll be sure to give that a look

    3. JDPower666

      Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

      I'm in no way putting him down but he is doing things on a far smaller scale. Musk is developing craft to go to the moon and Mars. Beck is using small rockets to send small payloads to orbit. So there's less public interest outside of us space geeks lol

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

      Musk has more money and is more interesting to the media. He has an army of "surrogates" who are more than happy to defend all his actions to all and sundry. He has good ideas and bad ideas but above all knows the importance of keeping the stock price high to guarantee dirt cheap access to capital: if that is cheap enough you can can afford to do whatever you want.

    5. Muscleguy

      Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

      He’s a Kiwi engineer not a Saffer techno geek. He designed a 3D printed rocket engine and got it to fly reliably. Musk just paid a lot of engineers to make stuff go uppity up, up.

      Engineers don’t tend t make good PR either. I know who out of the two I would like more though. Especially since I grew up in NZ.

      It’s one up those Okkers as well. Us Kiwis got ourselves a goddam space industry.

      It’s compensation for losing the ridiculous fighter wing of the NZ Air Force. Threaten us, we’ll send the rockets at you.

    6. lowwall

      Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

      Because compared to SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, the Rocket Labs Electron is a toy. Most of those 100+ satellites have been very small Cubesats. Max payload to LEO is currently 300kg in theory, although most launches have been well below that. Total payload flown to LEO to date is under 2 tonnes, released over 17 successful launches starting in 2018 (he had one failure during a commercial mission).

      Compare this to SpaceX. Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 heavy have 112 successful flights (with 2 failures) commencing in 2010. The standard payload for Falcon 9 is 15,600kg. They had a single flight that launched 143 satellites.

      Of course, it's still incredibly impressive that he managed to build a launcher capable of sending satellites into orbit. And even though it's far more expensive than a SpaceX launch on a per kilo basis, it's probably cheaper and easier to get a single mini-sat launched by Rocket Lab.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

        Because compared to SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, the Rocket Labs Electron is a toy.

        When it comes to rocket science, size doesn't really matter. In its own way Rocket Labs is every way as impressive as Space X, which has also benefitted from some juicy US government contracts.

        Musk understood the marketing advantage of reusability: all those videos of rockets returning to base remind me of the "smart" bomb footage from the first Gulf war. But other innovations, such as the printed engine and other fuel sources are probably at least as important.

        1. lowwall

          Re: Why is that name not familiar ?

          Agreed that size isn't important. Where Falcon 9 makes Electron look like a toy is in payload, ability to launch satellites beyond LEO and cost per kilo of payload. Rocket Labs is developing a Falcon 9 competitor called Neutron, but they don't expect it to launch until 2024. By which time SpaceX should have Starship working.

          Falcon 9's size does give Rocket Labs a niche though. Even though SpaceX is much cheaper per kilo, if you need less than a couple of tons lifted, you have to wait until they aggregate a bunch of smaller satellites into what they call a rideshare package. Because SpaceX is concentrating on Starlink launches, those rideshare launches are few and far between, they only have two scheduled for this year. So if you have a small satellite and a need for certain orbits or launch times that cannot be served by a SpaceX rideshare, it may well be worth paying a premium to Rocket Labs.

          BTW, Rocket Labs also received US government support. Almost half of their commercial launches have been wholly or partially dedicated to US government payloads.

  2. Shadow Systems

    You want a heavy lifter?

    Get my StepDad to make you a batch of his chili with beans. You'll soon be able to carry gigaton cargo out past Uranus.


    I'll get my coat, it's the one with the pockets full of antacid tablets. =-)p

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    That's a new one!

    I've been a space geek since Apollo 11 launched and I hadn't heard of catching an S-IC with a helicopter before!

    After seeing the stage in-person, I have to say that's a damned large helicopter.

    1. fobobob

      Re: That's a new one!

      Indeed, even empty, it's more than twice the weight of the record-setting helicopter lift of some ~57 tons (Mil Mi-26)... So at least it seems like it's within the limits of human technology.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like