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  • rmacculloch

Don't Bet Against NZ. We have the 4th highest no. of space launches in the world (after US, Russia & China).

Amongst the doom & gloom, its time for uplifting news. Isn't it extraordinary NZ now ranks as having the 4th highest number of space rocket launches in the world? Higher than all Europe combined, higher than the UK, higher than India & Japan, and a host of huge countries, the only exceptions being superpowers US, China and Russia. In the bar graph below, which records top 10 Space Launch Providers in 2023 by total launch count, SpaceX is first, followed by CASC (the Chinese State Aerospace Corporation), ROSCOSMOS is third (the Russian Space Corporation), and NZ's Rocket Lab is fourth. Even more extraordinarily, both the Chinese & Russian programs are State-backed. SpaceX & Rocket Lab are the two top private programs in the world, though Rocket Lab did receive some government grants when it was starting up, along with investments by the Warehouse's Stephen Tindall. Another extraordinary fact is that Rocket Lab's Founder, Peter Beck, did not go to University - he was an apprentice at Fisher & Paykel. Just shows we should not get obsessed about the role our Universities play in innovation. The hugely successful entrepreneurs who started Mainfreight, Bruce Plested, and Briscoes, Rod Duke, also never attended University.

When you consider the founder of the world's first serious Artificial Intelligence company, Deep Mind, was Rotorua's Shane Legg, now in charge of AI at Google, Kiwis are changing the world. Channeling their individual success into NZ national success seems to be the problem, symbolized by the fact that Rocket Lab is now "Headquartered in Long Beach, California" and "operates facilities including advanced manufacturing & mission operations centers in Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Maryland, Toronto and NZ". Despite being founded here, NZ is almost dropping off the company's list of "mentions". Meanwhile Deep Mind's Share Legg lives in London. That's the brain drain for you.


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