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  • Rights: © Copyright. 2011. University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved.
    Published 30 November 2011 Referencing Hub media

    Peter Beck from Rocket Lab describes how he became interested in rockets and shows the first rocket engine he ever made. He describes how he enjoys the physics and engineering challenges of rockets and encourages New Zealand students to pursue a career in engineering.


    As an engineer, I’ve always been interested in space, you know space is something that captivates pretty much everybody – you don’t have to be an engineer of course. But for me, I guess what made it exciting and interesting was the engineering challenges. Rockets and rocket motors, rocket propulsion represents the highest level of engineering. You have extreme pressures, extreme temperatures and extreme environments. And right here is my first ever rocket motor, and this is a hydrogen peroxide mono-propellant thruster. How it started for me is I was – as all young teenagers were at the time – very interested in cars, and I built myself a turbo-charged injected Mini, and it just sort of evolved and evolved to the point where I realised that the internal combustion engine simply was not providing the performance that I required.

    So in search for some more, some more efficient propulsion, naturally rockets were the way to go. It’s the engineering, the challenges, the engineering physics challenges within the art that I find really enjoyable, plus you know, it is enormous amounts of energy, so it’s always good to rumble the ground.

    I can say that the number one biggest issue that Rocket Lab has at the moment is finding really good talented people who are New Zealanders in this field. I would certainly encourage any young students out there to pursue a career in engineering and science, and when they succeed, come and see us please.

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