In a few months, a remote East Coast town will become the launching pad for a rocket headed for space.
In a two-page spread in the Herald on Sunday, science reporter Jamie Morton profiled inventor Peter Beck and the small town of Mahia he’s about to make famous.
When he first started peddling the idea of rockets firing off from tiny New Zealand, a country not particularly renowned for its space capability, many thought him fanciful, or just crazy.
They now know differently.
Just two years after its inception in 2007, Rocket Lab became the first private company in the Southern Hemisphere to reach space, having shot a prototype from Great Mercury Island, owned by one of Beck’s staunchest supporters, Sir Michael Fay.
When the lightweight Atea1 rocket powered through the sky at Mach 5 speed until it reached suborbital heights, probably as high as 150km above Earth, the legend had begun.
“It was a huge defining moment, life-changing really,” as Beck earlier put it.
“There are other companies doing this stuff that are all glossy with videos and all the rest of it, but we’re not like that. We do it, then talk about it, and now we had the credibility to talk.” The world sat up, took notice, and climbed aboard for the ride.