Rocket Lab sending Half-Life payload to space for Valve’s Gabe Newell in charity campaign

Rocket Lab’s 16th Electron mission will be a must-watch event when the small-sat launcher lifts off later this month. Gabe Newell, co-founder of game development company Valve, is donating $1 to charity for every viewer who watches the launch stream. What’s the Valve connection? Rocket Lab can explain:

A mass simulator will also be fixed to this mission’s Kick Stage in the form of a 3D printed gnome created for Valve’s Gabe Newell by multi-award-winning design studio Weta Workshop, the creative studio behind Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Mulan. The unique space component is additively manufactured into the shape of Half-Life gaming icon Gnome Chompski. The mission serves as an homage to the innovation and creativity of gamers worldwide, and also aims to test and qualify a novel 3D printing technique that could be employed for future spacecraft components. Valve president, Gabe Newell, will be donating one dollar to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Starship Children’s Hospital for every person who watches the launch online at

What happens after Gnome Chompski raises money for Starship Children’s Hospital in New Zealand? The titanium gaming icon will face a fiery fate:

The 150 mm gnome will remain attached to the Kick Stage during all mission phases and will burn up upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere during the de-orbiting process. 

Rocket Lab says the 14-day launch window for Electron’s 16th mission opens on November 15 UTC. Space Explored will bring coverage of the always-gorgeous launch from the Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand at Launch Complex 1.

Learn more about what Rocket Lab calls its “most diverse mission yet” here.


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