Peter Beck is the man behind one of the most exciting businesses to ever come out of New Zealand, Rocket Lab.

Rocket Lab gears for missions to lunar orbit by 2020

So far, they've successfully launched 40 satellites into space from Mahia Peninsula, allowing Beck to live his childhood dream.

But he's revealed that if his high school guidance counsellor had their way, he would have gone into something a bit more mundane. "They believed my aspirations were not reasonable or rational.


I would be much better suited to a trades career at the local aluminium smelter. That was a more realistic aspiration to have".

Luckily, Beck's parents were a lot more supportive. "When I was growing up it was a really limitless childhood. With my family, if I'd said I want to be an astronaut, it would just be "that's great, go do it!"".

As a young man, he spent time at the Southland Astronomical Society. "I couldn't understand most of it because I would have been under 10, but I was fascinated by the discussions that were taking place".

And it was that fascination that led him to a very focused plan to become the first person in the world to put commercial satellites into space. Rather than go to university, he decided taking the trade route would give him the background he needed.

That led him to an apprenticeship at Fisher and Paykel, where he worked in design, then into the super yacht business, where he learned how to manage a big team. Finally, working at what's now known as Callaghan Innovation, he met another inspiring Kiwi leader and would-be Rocket Lab investor, Sir Stephen Tindall.

Rocket Lab officially started in 2006, and later became the first private company in the Southern Hemisphere to reach space. Not bad for the boy who says for as long as he can remember, has just loved spending time outside, looking at the stars.

If you want to hear more about Peter Beck's journey to space, LISTEN to the first episode of HP Business Class, a brand new podcast series from Newstalk ZB with Heather du Plessis-Allan.