SpaceX Rockets U.S. Launches to New Heights in 2022

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.

A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.

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Rocket Lab Successfully Deploys 34 Satellites and Catches Rocket Booster Returning from Space with Helicopter

Electron launches on May 3, 2022. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif., May 2, 2022 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, has successfully launched its 26th Electron mission, deploying 34 satellites to orbit. Rocket Lab has now deployed a total of 146 satellites to orbit with the Electron launch vehicle.

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Rocket Lab to Attempt First Mid-Air Helicopter Capture of the Electron Rocket During Next Mission

Rocket Lab’s Sikorsky S-92 helicopter arrives in preparation for first Electron mid-air capture attempt (Credit: Business Wire)

For the first time, Rocket Lab will attempt a mid-air helicopter capture of an Electron rocket as it returns to Earth from space, furthering the company’s program to make Electron the first reusable orbital small launch vehicle

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab”), a leading launch and space systems company, has announced today that during its next Electron launch, a commercial rideshare mission currently scheduled in April 2022, the company will attempt a mid-air helicopter capture of the Electron launch vehicle for the first time.

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Rocket Lab Announces Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results, Issues Guidance for Fourth Quarter

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

Q3 2021 Financial Results Highlights

  • Revenue above high end of prior guidance range at $5.3 million
  • Backlog increased from $141 million at June 30, 2021 to $183 million as of September 30, 2021, and currently stands at $237 million as of November 15, 2021
  • Space Systems revenue in the third quarter 2021 grew 360% over the same quarterly period in 2020 to represent 27% of total revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2021
  • Successfully completed the merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation resulting in ending cash balance at September 30, 2021 of $792.7 million

Q4 2021 Guidance

  • Revenue to range between $23 million to $25 million
  • GAAP and non-GAAP gross margins of 13 percent and 27 percent, respectively
  • GAAP and non-GAAP operating expenses between $24 million to $26 million, and $19 million to $21 million, respectively
  • GAAP Net Loss between $24 million and $26 million, and Adjusted EBITDA loss of $9 million to $11 million, which reflects adjustments for stock-based compensation, 3rd party fees associated with M&A activity, depreciation and amortization, FX gains and losses, interest expense, taxes and other recurring and non-recurring items
  • All of the above exclude any warrant expense impacts from the public and private warrants assumed from the Vector Acquisition Corporation merger that closed on August 25, 2021, and also excludes any impacts from the Advance Solutions Inc. acquisition and related purchase price accounting, and excludes any financial contributions and accounting impacts from the pending Planetary Systems Corporation acquisition announced today

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended September 30, 2021.

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Aliena and OrbAstro Announce Service Agreement for In-Orbit Demonstration Mission of Propulsion System on 12U Satellite

Agreement between international newspace pioneers will pilot a cutting-edge smallsat propulsion system.

SINGAPORE, September 23, 2021 (Aliena PTE PR) — Aliena PTE Ltd (Aliena), a satellite propulsion provider, has signed a contract with Orbital Astronautics Ltd (OrbAstro), a satellite and in-orbit service provider, to fly its AA Multi-modal all-electric AOCS propulsion system onboard an OrbAstro ORB-12 (12U-class satellite) scheduled for launch in September 2022. The ORB-12 Strider mission will host a variety of payloads for in-orbit testing and demonstration purposes, of which the Aliena-Aurora (AA) propulsion system will be primary. 

Aliena has developed a multi-modal attitude and orbit control system (AOCS) with partners from Finland, Aurora Propulsion Technologies. Sharing a common back-end architecture for the propellant, electronic control, and fluidics, the propulsion segment will comprise of Aliena’s MUlti-Staged Ignition Compact (MUSIC) Hall thruster, and Aurora’s ARM resistojets.  

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Rocket Lab to Launch Four PocketQube Satellites for Alba Orbital

Electron launches with 10 satellites on Oct. 29, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

Launching on Electron in Q4 2021, the mission will deploy a range of pocket-sized satellites designed to demonstrate innovative radio and night-time Earth observation technologies

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 18, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a leading launch provider and space systems company, today announced it has signed a rideshare agreement with Scottish / American PocketQube satellite manufacturer, Alba Orbital, to launch a cluster of small satellites designed to demonstrate innovative radio and night-time Earth observation technologies. 

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Rocket Lab to Launch Finnish Satellite Developing Next-Generation Space Junk Removal Technologies

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 16, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a leading launch provider and space systems company, has today announced it will launch a satellite to test space junk removal technologies for Aurora Propulsion Technologies, a Finnish company dedicated to the sustainable use of space.

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Aurora Propulsion Technologies to Partner with Space Impulse

ESPOO, Finland and LONDON — Finland based Aurora Propulsion Technologies is a space industry engineering developer and solutions provider focusing on scalable movement and lifecycle control components for small satellites. Aurora has been recognized as one of the leading technology companies in New Space in the world. Its team of 20 engineers has grown from the founding seven in about two years.

Recognizing the importance of professional networking to support continued growth of the company, Aurora has partnered with Space Impulse to take advantage of membership in its rapidly expanding network of space industry companies and professionals in a highly collaborative environment. As the first Enterprise member in the Space Impulse platform, Aurora will leverage Space Impulse to accelerate its leadership.

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