Rocket Lab are based in Auckland. CEO Peter Beck is an engineer with no university degree who's learned rocket science by doing it.
At the age of 18, Beck left his home town of Invercargill to work for Fisher and Paykel in Dunedin. He set up Rocket Lab in 2006 with funding from rocket-mad angel investor Mark Rocket (not the name he was born with). Now, at the age of 36 Beck already has a long history of innovation, multiple awards, and a good reputation in the aerospace world. Since the first launch Rocket Lab have begun to make world-first technologies.
In late 2012 they demonstrated a rocket to representatives from their US military clients. The rocket runs on a 'VLM' (Viscous Liquid Monopropellant) fuel which is thrixotropic - neither a solid nor a liquid. It has all the best properties of both of those sorts of fuel and if successful will be a major advance in rocket science.