How Peter Beck Built $1.8 Billion Rocket Lab
New Zealander Peter Beck didn’t have a college degree and couldn’t talk his way into NASA and Boeing – so he built a US$1.8 billion rocket company, Tom Huddleston Jr. reports for CNBC’s Make It’s The Moment series, where highly successful people reveal the critical moment that changed the trajectory of their lives and careers, discussing what drove them to make the leap into the unknown.
By the time of Beck’s pilgrimage to the US in early 2006, he’d built a steam-powered rocket bicycle that travelled nearly 145km/h. He hoped his experiments were enough to convince NASA or companies like Boeing to hire him as an intern. Instead, he was escorted off the premises of multiple rocket labs.
“On the face of it, here’s a foreign national turning up to an Air Force base asking a whole bunch of questions about rockets – that doesn’t look good,” Beck, now 45, tells CNBC Make It.
Beck launched the company, Rocket Lab, later that same year. In 2009, it became the Southern Hemisphere’s first private company to reach space. Today, it’s a Long Beach, California-based public company with a market cap of US$1.8 billion. It has completed more than 35 space launches, including a moon-bound NASA satellite last year.
Original article by Tom Huddleston Jr., CNBC, April 11, 2023.