Rocket Lab Closes Acquisition Of Space Hardware Company Planetary Systems Corporation

LONG BEACH, Calif., December 1, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR)  – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, announced today that it has closed the previously-announced transaction to acquire Planetary Systems Corporation (PSC), a Maryland-based spacecraft separation systems company, for $42 million in cash and 1,720,841 shares of the Company’s common stock, plus the potential for an additional 956,023 shares of common stock for a performance earnout based on PSC’s CY 2022 and 2023 financial results. Rocket Lab announced the execution of the agreement to acquire PSC on 15 November, 2021 pending certain closing conditions.

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Video: Peter Beck Gives Update on Rocket Lab’s Neutron Launcher

Video Caption: Meet Neutron. Building on Rocket Lab’s proven experience developing the Electron launch vehicle, the advanced 8-ton payload class Neutron launch vehicle is designed to transform space access by delivering reliable and cost-effective launch services for satellite mega-constellations, deep space missions and human spaceflight.

Editor’s Note: I did a Twitter thread with highlights of the video with images and commentary. I also provide background on why Peter Beck and Rocket Lab went back on their pledge to not build another rocket beyond the Electron small satellite launcher. (Spoiler alert: SpaceX!) I also look at the issues surrounding SpaceX’s #SuperHeavy, #Starship and #Starlink programs.

Rocket Lab Announces Neutron Development Update to be Provided on December 2, 2021

Neutron booster (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 24, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR)–Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced that it will provide the first major update on the development of the Neutron launch vehicle on December 2, 2021 at 8:00 am EST. The virtual event will be streamed live via Rocket Lab’s YouTube channel, which can be accessed at that time at https://youtu.be/A0thW57QeDM.

Join Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck as he reveals new details about Neutron’s unique design, materials, propulsion, and reusability architecture for the first time.

Building on Rocket Lab’s proven experience developing the Electron launch vehicle, the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually since 2019, the advanced Neutron launch vehicle is designed to transform space access by delivering reliable and cost-effective launch services for satellite mega-constellations, deep space missions and human spaceflight. Where Electron provides dedicated access to orbit for small satellites of up to 300 kg (660 lb), Rocket Lab expects Neutron will further expand space access for satellite constellations and provide a dependable, high-flight-rate dedicated launch solution for larger commercial and government payloads, and that Neutron will incorporate the best innovation of the past to deliver a rocket for the future.

Rocket Lab Confirms Helicopter Capture Attempt For Next Recovery Mission

Electron launches from New Zealand on Nov. 18, 2021. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif., 23 November 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company, has today confirmed it will attempt to catch a returning rocket booster mid-air with a helicopter during the company’s next recovery mission. The confirmation follows the successful demonstration of helicopter shadow operations for the first time during the company’s 22nd Electron launch last week in the company’s latest effort to make Electron the world’s first reusable, orbital-class commercial small rocket.

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Rocket Lab Signs Exclusive License Agreement to Manufacture Space Radio Technology from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 18, 2021 (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 it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to commercialize near and deep space capable small spacecraft telemetry and control radio technology. The Frontier-S by Rocket Lab software defined radio (SDR) enables affordable communications and radio navigation for planetary and other missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), as well as communications and radio navigation for missions in GPS-denied environments.

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Rocket Lab Launches 107th Satellite To Orbit, Successfully Tests Helicopter Recovery Operations

Electron launches from New Zealand on Nov. 18, 2021. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

MAHIA, New Zealand. 18 November 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company, has successfully deployed two satellites to orbit for real-time geospatial monitoring company BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY). Rocket Lab also successfully introduced helicopter operations to a recovery mission for the first time, using a helicopter to observe and track the Electron rocket’s first stage as it descended to Earth under parachute as part of the company’s program to make Electron the world’s first reusable, orbital-class commercial small rocket.

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Rocket Lab to Acquire Space Hardware Company Planetary Systems Corporation

The Acquisition Bolsters Rocket Lab’s Space Systems Business and End-to-End Space Solutions Offering across Launch, Spacecraft, and Space Hardware and Manufacture

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 it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Planetary Systems Corporation (PSC), a Maryland-based spacecraft separation systems company, for $42 million in cash and 1,720,841 shares of the Company’s common stock, plus the potential for an additional 956,023 shares of common stock for a performance earnout based on PSC’s CY 2022 and 2023 financial results. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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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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Rocket Lab Appoints Andrew Bunker as Vice President of Government Operations and Business Strategy

Andrew Bunker, Vice President of Government Operations and Business Strategy (Credit: Rocket Lab)

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 the appointment of Andrew Bunker to the role of Vice President of Government Operations and Business Strategy, effective November 8, 2021.

Mr. Bunker will be primarily responsible for the development and execution of company’s federal, state, and local government strategy. Mr. Bunker will also play a leading role in strengthening Rocket Lab’s engagement with industry associations. The appointment comes as Rocket Lab expands its end-to-end ecosystem footprint with the acquisition of flight software company Advanced Solutions Inc in Colorado, and also narrows down potential locations for a new production facility and launch site for the reusable, medium-lift Neutron rocket.

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Rocket Lab to Recover Electron Rocket, Introduce Helicopter Operations During Next Launch

A crew recovers the first stage of an Electron rocket from the ocean. (Credit: Rocket Lab)
  • The mission is the latest in Rocket Lab’s program to make Electron the first reusable orbital launch vehicle dedicated to small satellites.
  • After splashing down in the ocean, Electron’s first stage will be recovered by ship and transported back to Rocket Lab’s production complex for analysis.
  • For the first time, a helicopter will track and observe Electron’s descent in preparation for future missions which aim to use helicopters to intercept and capture returning rocket boosters mid-air as they return to Earth under parachute.

Long Beach, California. 19 October 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc (“Rocket Lab” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: RKLB) has today revealed it will attempt a controlled ocean splashdown and recovery of the first stage of an Electron rocket during the company’s next launch in November. The mission will be Rocket Lab’s third ocean recovery of an Electron stage; however, it will be the first time a helicopter will be stationed in the recovery zone around 200 nautical miles offshore to track and visually observe a descending stage in preparation for future aerial capture attempts. The helicopter will not attempt a mid-air capture for this mission but will test communications and tracking to refine the concept of operations (CONOPS) for future Electron aerial capture.

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Rocket Lab Acquires Advanced Solutions Inc.

LONG BEACH, Calif., October 12, 2021 (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 it has completed the acquisition of Advanced Solutions, Inc. (ASI), a Colorado-based aerospace engineering firm delivering mission proven space software, mission simulation and test systems, and Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) solutions, for $40 million plus the potential for an additional $5.5 million performance earnout based on CY 2021 results.

ASI’s industry-leading advances in flight software, mission simulation, and GNC significantly strengthen Rocket Lab’s Space Systems portfolio, which encompasses the Photon spacecraft line and a growing suite of spacecraft hardware solutions, including those brought to the portfolio through the acquisition of Sinclair Interplanetary in April 2020.

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Rocket Lab Launch Operations Underway For Two BlackSky Missions in November

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

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (“Rocket Lab” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch provider and space systems company, has today announced it has scheduled two dedicated launches in November for Spaceflight Inc.’s customer, real-time geospatial and global monitoring company BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY).

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Rocket Lab Inks Deal with Varda Space Industries to Supply Multiple Photon Spacecraft for Space Manufacturing Missions

Photon CAPSTONE spacecraft (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The Rocket Lab-built and jointly operated Photon spacecraft will enable high-value products to be manufactured in space and returned to Earth

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 11, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Leading launch and space systems company Rocket Lab today announced it has signed a deal with in-space manufacturing company Varda Space Industries to produce three Photon spacecraft that will integrate with their space factories, enabling high-value products to be manufactured in zero-gravity and returned to Earth in Varda’s re-entry capsule.

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Rocket Lab Selected to Launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System

Advanced Composite Solar Sail System on NanoAvionics’ 12U CubeSat. (Credit: NanoAvionics)

The Electron rocket will deploy an innovative satellite designed to test new deployable structures and materials technologies for solar sail propulsion systems, paving the way for sunlight to power future deep space exploration

LONG BEACH, Calif., October 6, 2021 (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 it has been selected to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System, or ACS3, on the Electron launch vehicle.

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Rocket Lab Expands Space Systems Footprint with New High Volume Reaction Wheel Production Facility

Reaction wheels (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The new production facility comes as Rocket Lab secures contracts to supply major satellite constellations with reaction wheels

LONG BEACH, Calif., September 1, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or the “Company”), global leader in launch and space systems, today announced that construction is underway on a new production facility capable of supplying up to 2,000 reaction wheels per year to fulfil growing demand from satellite constellation customers.

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