Record revenue, added contract wins

An Electron rocket launches from the company’s New Zealand facility on Nov. 4, 2022.

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab delivered quarterly results on Wednesday that boasted record revenue, with the space company tacking on additional contract wins across its business.

“The quarter ended strongly for Rocket Lab,” CEO Peter Beck said on the company’s conference call with investors.

The company reported third-quarter revenue of $63.1 million, up 14% from the second quarter, with an adjusted EBITDA loss of $6.9 million – which was 62% lower than the third quarter a year ago. It had $333.3 million in cash on hand at the quarter’s end.

Rocket Lab stock is down 61% this year as of Wednesday’s close of $4.74 a share.

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The space venture conducted three successful Electron rocket missions from its New Zealand facility during the quarter, bringing in $23 million in revenue. Rocket Lab has completed a company record of nine launches so far this year.

It expects to complete the first Electron launch from the U.S., a long-awaited mission from NASA’s Wallops facility in Virginia, in December after receiving a key certification from the space agency. That flight will launch satellites for HawkEye 360, the first of three launches contracted through Rocket Lab to deliver 15 satellites to orbit.

The company also expects to conduct a second Electron launch from Virginia within “weeks” of the first, for “an undisclosed satellite constellation operator.”

Rocket Lab’s broader Space Systems division brought in $40.1 million in revenue during the period. The spacecraft and components business won a number of contracts during the third quarter as well.

The company expanded on an existing contract with space company MDA, to support the Globalstar constellation that is being heavily utilized by Apple for iPhone satellite connectivity – with Rocket Lab building spacecraft, solar panels and radios. It will also operate a spacecraft control center as part of the agreement.

The company also won a pair of contracts worth $14 million to provide satellite separation systems for satellites being built by two companies for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency, as well as a U.S. Space Force contract to supply solar power for three missile-warning satellites.

Additionally, Rocket Lab signed a research agreement with the Pentagon’s United States Transport Command to “explore cargo transport use” with its rockets.

Rocket Lab has begun production of the hardware for its forthcoming, larger Neutron rocket. Given needed research and development spending, Rocket Lab CFO Adam Spice said that “achieving and sustaining profitability can really only happen once we’ve gotten the majority” of work on Neutron completed. The rocket is expected to debut in 2024.

Beck emphasized on the call how work to reuse its existing Electron rockets will help make the next-generation vehicle successful.

“I wouldn’t be wanting to develop a reusable rocket without having all of this knowledge and experience of reentering launch vehicles,” Beck said.

The company forecast lower revenue for the fourth quarter, guiding to a range of $51 million to $54 million, citing an unspecified customer launch that was delayed to 2023.

Spice noted that Rocket Lab expects to conduct about 14 Electron launches next year.