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Rocket Lab CEO Eats His Hat (Yes, Really)

By Rich Smith - Mar 1, 2021 at 2:00PM

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Peter Beck said he'd eat his hat before delving into reusable rockets or big rockets. Cue publicity stunt.

You've got to hand it to Rocket Lab: Not only does this company know how to launch rockets (they've put about 18 of them into orbit to date), the U.S.-New Zealand small-rocket launch company is also a wiz at PR (see below).

Early this morning, Rocket Lab made headlines when it announced it's teaming up with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Vector Acquisition Corp (VACQ) to go public in a SPAC-sponsored IPO valued at $4.1 billion (if you don't count their cash) or $4.85 billion (if you do).

Cartoon rocket zooming up like a stock on a chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

That news alone was probably more than enough to send Vector stock rocketing more than 40% in Monday morning trading. But what's arguably even more exciting is what Rocket Lab plans to do with the cash once it goes public on the Nasdaq as "Rocket Lab USA" with the ticker symbol "RKLB."  

Specifically, as Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck revealed in a video on Twitter this morning, the company plans to upgrade its current fleet of small Electron rockets, each of which maxes out at about 225 kilograms (496 pounds) in payload, with a new class of medium-launch Neutron rockets that can carry 8 tons of payload into orbit.

That's right: more than 35 times the payload of Electron. According to Rocket Lab, the new rocket will be reusable (just like the rockets that SpaceX builds) and certified to carry astronauts to space as well.

Just how unexpected was this news? Well, as CEO Beck admitted, he had previously told investors that Rocket Lab had no interest in building reusable rockets -- or bigger rockets, either. Apparently, at some point, he even made the ill-considered promise to "eat his hat" if he ever did either of these things, and so today, live on Twitter, this happened:

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