How Rocket Lab questions the fundamentals of building both rockets and startups TechCrunch

Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck has had an eventful few years, despite the unpredictable challenges COVID-19 has posed during the LA and New Zealand-based rocket maker’s operations. Just this year, Rocket Lab went public, revealing plans for a new mid-range launch vehicle called Neutron and acquiring two companies (in addition to its first acquisition from 2020).

I spoke with Beck at the TC Sessions: Space 2021 event, where we covered what’s new and special about the Neutron and how it leverages the pedigree of the company’s Electron rocket to challenge some assumptions. regulations on how larger rockets are built. We also dig deep into his vision for Rocket Lab and what its goals are in terms of making it easier for potential customers to take their content to space.

Beck exploits everything from the unique way Rocket Labs intends to bring the Neutron’s first reusable stage back to Earth, to the crank’s “Hungry Hippo”-style design that allows it to avoid discarded after use. He also describes his vision for what Rocket Lab hopes to become through the integration of more services, both through acquisitions and in-house product development.

Check out these excerpts, and then watch the full interview below.

On how to lower your foot to the ground and improve aerodynamics:

It’s all about removing as many components and complexities as possible [ … ] We had this epiphany the other day, where we were, we were working on these landing gears and we were just going around non-stop with the mechanisms, and we would how to operate those mechanisms, and all the rest of it. And then we were like, stop, and don’t have your feet on the ground. So let’s just have a base that is wide enough that we can resist any kind of flipping or climbing movements.

So we start with this big base and draw a satellite in the payload and the top stage top and the rhombus, then just draw two lines connecting it all and it looks like an intersection cone. pine. That’s really the ultimate vehicle: It doesn’t have legs, it’s just some kind of well-stabilized structure. And then when we started doing some CFDs [computational fluid dynamics] on top of that, some aerodynamics and some retry, and that traffic cone turns out to be very useful, because you have this downward pressure over the length of the car, which means you don’t has any shockwave attached to it, which is always a challenge with reentry.

On how to build a space company that truly serves the needs of the modern consumer:

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