CEO of Rocket Lab, former Entrepreneur of the Year and New Zealand Innovator of the Year.
Peter Beck is the founder and chief executive of Rocket Lab, the world’s leading small satellite launch company.
Since founding the business in 2006, Peter has grown Rocket Lab to become a globally recognised industry leader in aerospace manufacturing and research, as well as a billion-dollar company employing hundreds of world-class engineers and technicians.
Peter is an acclaimed engineer who grew up in Invercargill dreaming of space flight. Following years of developing and launching rockets, Peter established the Electron orbital launch program in 2013. Electron is the world's first fully carbon-composite launch vehicle, powered by 3D printed, electric turbo pump-fed rocket engines. Peter also oversaw the development of the world’s first and only private orbital launch range, located on New Zealand's Māhia Peninsula. He played a crucial role in establishing international treaties and legislation to enable orbital launch capability from New Zealand. That capability was realised in January 2018 with Rocket Lab’s first orbital launch of the Electron rocket.
Peter’s commitment to humanity, and improving life on Earth, is unique in a space launch industry increasingly focused on looking to explore other planets, rather than improving our own. He can formulate and articulate a vision, raise the funds to execute it and lead a highly-skilled and passionate team to bring it to life. Under Peter’s guidance, Rocket Lab’s launch model will see thousands of small satellites reach orbit and feed critical data back to Earth, helping us better monitor our planet and manage our impact on it.
Satellites launched on Electron perform vital social and commercial services, including monitoring deforestation, global internet from space, improved weather prediction and crop monitoring. Peter’s work has contributed to New Zealand’s reputation as a hub for innovation. His achievements have been recognised with a Meritorious Medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society for service of an exceptional nature, and the Cooper Medal, presented by the Royal Society (NZ) bi-annually to those deemed to have published the best single account of research in physics and engineering. In 2015, Peter was also awarded New Zealander of the Year (innovation) and in 2016 was recognised as New Zealand EY Entrepreneur of the Year. In June 2018, Peter was also awarded Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award.