Peter Beck has long maintained he has no desire to buy a ticket on Virgin Galactic.
Yesterday, as he unveiled his own company’s crew-capable Neutron, he was again asked if he would want to leave Earth orbit?
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The 40m tall Neutron is due to blast off in 2024.
It will be funded by some US$750m in proceeds from Rocket Lab’s pending listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange at US$4.1 billion ($6b) valuation.
Beck told journalists that the Neutron’s first missions, from 2024 would be to lift fleets of satellites into space – for the new rocket will be able to handle payloads of up to 8 tonnes, or 8000kg, compared to the 150kg manifests that can be delivered into orbit by Rocket Lab’s current 18m Electron.
But in the years ahead, he sees it being used for crewed missions and ferrying supplies everywhere from the International Space Station to the moon and Mars.
So, will he hop aboard?
In short, nope. “I’m in no rush to go to space, to be honest with you,” the entrepreneur said.
“I think I probably understand the risks too well.
“I’m one of those guys who sits in an aircraft and looks out at window, counting the fatigue cycles on the wing – knowing that the safety factor is 1.2 on this and 1.3 on that. So I’d not make a good passenger on a launch vehicle.”
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