They're launching a Half-Life gnome into space

The folks at Rocket Lab have teamed up with Valve's Game Newell to launch a garden gnome into space. But why? To raise money for charity, of course. For each individual person that watches the launch of said garden gnome into space, Newell will donate one dollar to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Starship. That'll be racked up during the launch live AND inside a period of 24 hours after the launch, on replay.

Do I know that gnome?

You might recognize this gnome. This gnome was manufactured with support from Weta Workshop, created in the shape of Half-Life gaming icon Gnome Chompski. This piece of art is 150 mm of titanium, and (as far as we know, for now,) there is only one.

The Rocket Lab mission on which this gnome will travel to space utilizes the spacecraft Electron's Kick Stage for gnome deployment. This Kick Stage was designed to deliver small satellites into precise orbits. It was not intended for gnome launching. It's quite likely that, once the Kick Stage burns up in the atmosphere, Mr. Chompski will also meet his ultimate doom. Let's all watch and see!

This launch is when, and why?

"This money may someday help achieve Newell's ultimate dream — launching a children's hospital into space — but in the interim will be used for more practical hospital-related purposes." The entire event will be shown at Rocket Lab USA's Live Stream page on November 15 UTC. It's scheduled "for lift-off no earlier than November 15 UTC," as it were. As with any space launch of this size, factors like weather can change launch plans at the last minute.

UPDATE: The launch will take place "during 14-day launch window that opens on November 16 NZT / November 15 UTC." It'll launch from Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand.

The money goes where?

The place the money will go is Starship Childrens Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand is also the home to Rocket Lab and the world famous design studio Weta Workshop. This project came about thanks to Valve president Game Newell's visit to New Zealand earlier this year. He went to visit the folks at Rocket Lab and Weta Workshop this year, when the pandemic hit.

"He has since called Auckland his temporary home, and has been looking for a way to help the economy and the community that sheltered him (or at least hasn't kicked him out yet)," said the folks at Valve Press. "Newell would like the good people of New Zealand, global leaders of living in New Zealand, to know that his eccentric attempts at charity are largely harmless and pose no immediate threat to their way of life."