According to a July article by the New Zealand Herald, the Kiwi nation will have its own space program by the end of 2015. Top scientists from Auckland have reached out to Princeton junior thrower Julia Ratcliffe as a means of getting off the ground.

Ratcliffe, The Daily Princetonian's Female Athlete of the Year for 2013-14, topped the NCAA in the hammer throw last season before earning silver in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

“Julia is one of this nation’s finest athletes,” Peter Beck, founder and CEO of contracting firm Rocket Lab, said. “It would be a shame not to utilize her unique skills in our scientific endeavors.”

The island nation has faced a shortage of cash for government projects due to director Peter Jackson’s introduction of roving Uruk-Hai hordes, whose penchant for seizing livestock has hampered the usually vibrant sheep farming industry. According to a report by the Guardian, national sheep populations have dipped to 29.6 million with the ratio of sheep to people dropping below 3:1 for the first time since World War II.

“We were told that, after Peter concluded filming, the Uruk-Hai would suffer the fate of the One Ring and ‘Be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came,’ ” Prime Minister John Key explained. “But, ever since his crew neglected to account for all the servants of Sauron they released into our fields, we’ve had to pour so many resources into stemming the tide of wanton destruction.”

As a result, early-stage propulsion in Auckland will differ wildly from what pioneer Robert Goddard had in mind with his original rocket. New Zealand scientists hope that the angular momentum generated by Ratcliffe will be enough to accelerate the satellite to the required escape velocity of 11.2 kilometers per second.

“I’m honored to represent my country in this capacity,” the Princeton junior said. “I’ve thrown stuff farther than pretty much anyone else in the field. So we figured that space is the next logical goal.”

In other oceanic space news, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has turned to the athletic prowess of its NCAA-competing nationals. Men’s heavyweight senior Timothy Masters, lightweight junior Ed Northrop and women’s openweight sophomore Georgie Howie have been selected to participate in crew’s first-ever space race. Rowers will strap into erg machines with the goal of generating enough energy to propel the first egg-laying mammal into space.

“I think it would be pretty gnarly to throw a platypus up there,” Northrop said. “The benefits to our collective scientific understanding offered by Project Platypus are potentially life-changing.”

New Zealand’s aeronautics and space program, known as Kiwis in Space Shuttles, has drawn the ire of likewise named New York hard rock group KISS.

“I mean, we’re pretty much already in the stratosphere when it comes to the consistent quality of our music and performances,” bassist Gene Simmons said. “There isn’t enough room up there for us and a bunch of New Zealand space junk.”

When told that the Kiwis planned to use a college junior’s throwing ability to launch their satellites, Simmons said, “That’s pretty tight.”

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