back to article One white cat and a volcano short of a Bond villain: Rocket Lab's Peter Beck shows off the 'Hungry Hippo'

Rocket Lab showed off progress on its Neutron rocket yesterday, with a "Hungry Hippo" fairing design more reminiscent of a '60s spy flick than a'70s table-top kid amuser. Rocket Lab Hungry Hippo fairing The Hungry Hippo fairing (pic: Rocket Lab) The event opened with CEO Peter Beck furnishing his audience with details on …

  1. Chris G

    Sand worm

    The image in the article looks more like some of the artist's impressions of Shai Hulud to me than any hippo I have ever seen.

    Maybe apt for a new spacing guild.

    1. Stoneshop

      Re: Sand worm

      Also, hippos tend to have a single propeller at the rear, not seven Archimedeses (Archimedi?)

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Sand worm

        I've never lit a Hippo fart (I know, sheltered life) but I suspect it does not have a specific impulse of 320 seconds.

  2. Snake Silver badge

    Bond! Bond?

    Good time for me to add a personal comment, that for the first time in my life's history I seem not to be in a big rush to see the new Bond film.

    Frankly, I question what happened to Bond. The Daniel Craig Bond films are, well, not fun. They are brooding, somewhat morbid, a modern interpretation of a "super hero" just without the powers - just another interpretation of the magical, dark and brooding "Dark Knight" Batman series, all action, colorized lighting, and not a smile in sight.

    Bond for me used to be FUN. A total escape, a good frolic of excitement, a bit of sexy attraction, fun deux ex machina toys, vehicular chase sequences, and a "villain" that gets what he/she deserves.

    Hail Britannia just ain't what it used to be (from my American perspective, anyway).

    1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Re: Bond! Bond?

      Agree. I'm sure the guy's a solid actor, pretty sure I laughed out loud when he did SNL but he doesn't grab me as 007.

      Like Dalton, he seems too rugged. Any manner of Nerd should be able to look at Bond and think "I don't need bulgy muscles, just smarts and a few good tricks".

      I look at Dalton and Craig and think "they don't need Q, they can just punch their way out".

      Connery makes horses look small, but these guys don't have his finesse or fun. Maybe it's the writing. I'm a 70's kid, so my Bond was Moore. Brosnan I loved 'cause he struck me like a more competent Moore, but all the fun.

      It's okay. I finally saw all the Matt Helm flicks. Kingsman's top shelf too.

      1. Adrian 4

        Re: Bond! Bond?

        Film fashion. It's all about stern looks and dramatic poses. Blame Marvel.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Bond! Bond?

        The first Kingsman is great. Shame about the sequel.

        I'd also recommend the Man from UNCLE film if you liked Kingsman. More stylish, a bit funnier and without the couple of ill-judged jokes in Kingsman that were a bit wince-inducing.

      3. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Bond! Bond?

        Yes, I get that Connery was the original, and Craig might be more faithful to the books. But as a two-word imperative "Roger Moore" takes some beating. Rarely* has a single eyebrow maneuver been exploited so magnificently.

        "007 what are you doing?"

        "Just keeping the British end up, Sir"

        * I must give Bill Nighy credit for his own brow-achievements. Specifically at the end of Pride (2014).

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Bond! Bond?

      The Daniel Craig Bond films are, well, not fun. They are brooding, somewhat morbid, a modern interpretation of a "super hero"

      Actually the Craig Bond films, are much more looking back to the books for inspiration. As were the Dalton ones, but much less successfully, because they had low budgets and worse writers.

      If you go back and read some of the books (I've only read a couple of the early ones), they're a lot darker and much more connected with the nasty realities of some poor sod on the ground getting shot at than the wise-cracking Bonds of yesteryear. Though it should also be pointed out that the first couple of Connery films also had a couple of nasty moments, because he was capable of playing Bond either way.

      There's a lot of wish fulfillment in the early books, such as Bond having breakfast of 8 scrambled eggs with toast, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice - which make a lot more sense when you realise it was probably being written in a grey 1950s London under rationing.

      I also remember being surprised by Bond's internal monologue, which gets pretty damned close to being whiny, as he moans on about M dumping him in the shit and nearly getting him killed, yet again. Not that you'd blame him.

      Anyway tastes vary, but I think that Bond needed a refresh after the Brosnan era, so why not have a try at something a bit harder edged? Having done what was as close to a 5 film story-arc as the franchise will allow, perhaps now would be a good time to go back to the 50s and tack towards something a bit more light hearted. But I very much enjoyed the Craig experiment. Then again I'm one of Dalton's few fans, so what do I know?

      Bond for me used to be FUN. A total escape, a good frolic of excitement, a bit of sexy attraction, fun deux ex machina toys, vehicular chase sequences, and a "villain" that gets what he/she deserves.

      Then what are you complaining about? Craig killed all but one of his baddies - and Blofeld got locked up at the end of the previous one rather than killing him, to keep him handy for this one. All had car chases and silly toys, plus a bit of available nookie. The only problem with your list here is that the baddie in Quantum of Solace was rubbish. The film had good bits but made no sense, but a crappy baddie was what really let it down.

  3. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

    Cool beans to see all these designs I thought were only sci-fi.

    To think you can fold up legs to stand a reusable rocket and have cargo doors and hinges like this thing. Looks like way more going on than the 'Shuttle doors or on the Hubble.

    I am so outta here first Firefly I see land in one piece.

    1. gypsythief

      Destination Moon!

      Let's face it. Hergé nailed it years ago!

      >>Icon: Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly. Not what you want!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Destination Moon!

        Beck is more of a dog person, according to Rocket Lab's communications team.

        White CatDog


  4. DS999 Silver badge

    Rather than making it reusable

    They should make it so it can maneuver to defunct satellites and gobble them up, then deorbit to burn both them and the satellite inside up.

    If a market for satellite disposal was created, they might make more money that way than being able to reuse them!

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Rather than making it reusable

      Stage 1 is sub-orbital. The only satellites it could meet and match velocities with are ones that have not been launched or that litter Australia. In theory they could put a satellite de-orbiter payload on top of a stage 2 inside Shai-Hulud. That is only as hard as rocket science. The bigger barrier is legal: you touch someone else's satellite and you become legally responsible for it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hungry Hippo

    Does no one remember the mechanical marble grabbing game?

    1. Lotaresco

      Re: Hungry Hippo

      "Does no one remember the mechanical marble grabbing game?"

      I do. I also remember back in the 80s referring to three dimensional bar graphs which were a new thing at the time as "Lego(tm) Plots" but omitted the (tm). it didn't take long before Lego(tm) saw our scientific paper and put a shot across our bows telling us to always refer to Lego(tm) as Lego(tm) and to never omit the (tm) or they would sue our collective donkeys. So I refer to Lego(tm) as Lego(tm) these days and don't see it as at all absurd. What do you say Lego(tm)(tm)?

  6. Doctor Evil
    Thumb Up

    rocket name

    We didn't spend six years developing it just to end up calling it "Mister Evil", thank you very much! Throw me a frickin' bone here!

  7. Muscleguy


    In NZ former volcanoes are ten a penny. Embed your house in a hillside and you could describe it as a lair in a volcano.

    The whole of Dunedin sits in or up the sides of the caldera of the Dunedin volcano with attendant former cones. There are organ pipes. Giant’s Causeway type hexagonal columns but seen tall and side on.

    If you live in or on the caldera you have a lair in a volcano.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Mundane

      So-ooooo, what you're saying is that the world is actually rife with nefarious evil-doers. Plotting their plots in plain sight and beautiful views. That, indeed, the level of international nefarity is so high that MI6 and its ilk are urgently shopping for more Bonds than the Federal Reserve on a QE tear.

      I'll get my CV together.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Mundane

      Is Kim Dotcom's house located on the side of a volcano?

  8. Stoneshop

    That first stage

    has a rocket pocket, and in the image it has just ejected a rocket pocket rocket.

    1. Sgt_Oddball

      Re: That first stage

      The bigger issue with using it as a de-orbit device for dud satellites is the likelihood of it missing on the first grab.

      That and running out of coins for a retry...

      I mean how many times have *you* used a grabber down at the seafront and dropped it?

  9. Klimt's Beast Would


    It looks like a giant squid to me so it has to have an edgy spelling like g.Skivd or something for PR purposes.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: g.Skvid

        GS could bank roll/raise the funds needed for playing around with rockets.

        As for Lloyd Blankfein...

        Bald head - check

        White Cat - Does he have a white cat? No mention of one on his wikipedia page

  10. Kinetic

    There's only one burnt-out volcano worth having

    There's only one burnt-out volcano worth having in this solar system, and someone else is fully committed to getting to mars and taking possession asap. I see he's just offloaded the last of his earth-based lairs. He's all-in for the mars prime super-villian real-estate.

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