Rocket Lab researcher to give talk

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Palmerston’s own rocket man is giving a talk in Oamaru about working for world-leading satellite launch company Rocket Lab.

Lachlan Matchett, who attended Palmerston Primary School and East Otago High School, will speak about his career as research and development leader at the company founded by Peter Beck.

Rocket Lab is now involved in Nasa’s bid to return to the moon next year.

Mr Matchett, who graduated from the University of Canterbury’s School of Engineering, was one of the first 13 people to join the Rocket Lab team that sent satellites into space from the Mahia peninsula for global clients.

The Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand named him Young Engineer of the Year in 2017.

The Oamaru Rotary Club has arranged for Mr Matchett to speak at the Brydone Hotel’s Moeraki Room at 6pm next Wednesday – March 11.

“We heard that Lachlan was going home to visit family,” Rotary president Blair Middlemass said, “and also that he was keen to offer a school support element by sharing his story with other young people who share his passion for space and rocketry as a career, so we set out to make it happen.”

The club has contacted the three Oamaru secondary schools and invited interested science pupils to the presentation.

“Anyone else who’s interested in space exploration and what this amazing Kiwi company, Rocket Lab, is doing are welcome to join us and hear Lachlan speak,” Mr Middlemass said.

The club was also planning another presentation from a leading figure in New Zealand’s emerging space industry.