By: Vaimoana Tapaleao
It is the stuff seen in movies – astronauts, new space technologies and yet-to-be-seen inventions set to change the world.
But for one young Kiwi that is very much a part of his reality.
“A lot of my friends have worked at Nasa and we have professors in my department who are astronauts,” says Michael Kapteyn.
The West Aucklander has graduated with a master of science degree in aeronautics and astronautics from one of the world’s top universities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The former Kelston Boys High student has spent the past few years studying in the United States after gaining a bachelor of engineering, in engineering science and with first-class honours, from the University of Auckland.
He is 22 years old.
“Yeah, I sort of went through school real quick,” he laughed.
Kapteyn is now studying towards his PhD and says although he has always had a strong interest in mathematics and the sciences, he never really knew what he was chasing in life until recently.
“In brainstorming and looking for somewhere to apply the maths and the things that I was interested in, I just happened upon aerospace engineering.
“I was really intrigued by the space technological bubble that we’re in at the moment – the sort of new space race with SpaceX and Rocket Lab, in New Zealand, and all these new companies trying to get to space.”