Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve, is teaming up with aerospace company Rocket Lab to send everyone’s favorite garden gnome, Gnome Chompski, into space for charity. The launch itself will occur mid-November, but Nerfwire’s anonymous source within Russia’s deep state, Gervasii Morozov, has confirmed that the nation is gearing up for an arms race unseen since the time they competed with Nixon to launch a plastic flamingo into lower orbit—they’re trying to get a Russian gnome up there first.
In the weeks preceding Newell’s announcement, Russia has begun ramping up their aerospace program significantly and gathering gnomes from home improvement stores, hobby lobbies and quaint gardens across the country. In a statement, Vladimir Putin told the world, “We see that Gabe Newell is plotting to set new grounds in space travel. We cannot let him accomplish this task first. Russia lost the Space Race back in 1969. We will not lose again. We will launch a gnome into space, or maybe one of those Russian doll sets, where there’s a tiny doll inside all the slightly bigger dolls.”
The battle is on between Gaben and the sovereign state of Russia to see who can be the first to attain the “Little Rocket Man” achievement IRL. “I had no idea this was going to become a competition,” says one Rocket Lab engineer. “We could have already positioned the gnome in the rocket, but Newell insists that we transport the sculpture in a dilapidated, open-top muscle car. The damn thing keeps flying out and we have to stop so we can wedge him back into the rear window frame. It’s so annoying!”
Our journalist took a moment to talk to the engineer about the design flaws, drawing on expertise from playing Kerbal Space Program. We expect this has made a significant impact on future design choices for the rocket.