06 April 2017

Rocket designer in running for Young Engineer of the Year


Young Engineer of the Year finalist Lachlan Matchett has led a large team of engineers to design and deliver Rocket Lab’s innovative Rutherford Engine.

Aged 26, Lachlan is Vice President of Propulsion at Rocket Lab and has led this project from day one.

He describes it as a “state of the art” liquid oxygen and kerosene pump fed rocket engine, developed from scratch. It has a higher thrust-to-weight ratio than the main engines in the Space Shuttle.

As a graduate, Lachlan was one of Rocketlab’s first employees. He now manages a team of nearly 30 people.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck describes him as a “phenomenal engineer and leader”.

The IPENZ Young Engineer of the Year award  recognises a young engineer who has demonstrated excellence in their career, leadership qualities and contribution to their community. It will be presented in Wellington on Friday 7 April.

The other two finalists are Oliver Whalley, who has been leading sustainable transport projects in the Pacific for the World Bank, and Virginie Lacrosse, a Natural Hazard Engineer at Tonkin + Taylor who has been at the forefront of liquefaction work in Christchurch.