Position: CEO and technical director, Field: Rocket engineering, Organisation: Rocket Lab.

Peter Beck is CEO and technical director of Rocket Lab, a New Zealand rocket technology company. He founded Rocket Lab in 2006 and led it to accomplish its first major goal of building and launching a rocket to reach space in 2009. He continues to lead Rocket Lab as a high-tech company in international markets.

Before forming Rocket Lab, Peter’s already prestigious career included work with Crown research institute Industrial Research Ltd (IRL). During this time, one of the projects he was heavily involved with included work on aspects of high-temperature superconductor manufacture.

Peter has been awarded the Royal Society Cooper Medal for the best single account of research in physics and engineering, as well as a Meritorious Medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society for services of an exceptional nature leading to major advances in New Zealand aviation.

I would certainly encourage any young student out there to pursue a career in engineering and science.

Peter’s passion and skills in high-tech engineering began at an early age. He came from a family of engineers and always had a workshop and tools available to him to foster his innovation and practical skills. After leaving school, Peter pursued an advanced trade in precision engineering. This practical grounding has enabled Peter to develop Rocket Lab’s propulsion technologies to such high levels.

Peter is New Zealand’s leading rocket technology expert. His role includes a lot of international travel to build networks and to secure contracts for Rocket Lab. He also maintains a very hands-on approach with all aspects of the company’s rocket propulsion research, testing and manufacture. He has always enjoyed solving engineering challenges and is confident about Rocket Lab’s continuing success.

This article is based on information current in 2011, with updated links below.

Useful links

In February 2015 Peter Beck was named 'New Zealand Innovator of the Year'. Listen to this interview with him on TV3 news.

Listen as Peter Beck discusses New Zealand’s role in the global space industry in this Te Papa chanel audio.

News story from September 2016 about Rocket Lab opening in the Hawke's Bay the world's first private orbital launch site.

    Published 30 November 2011