An Electron rocket launches from the company’s New Zealand facilities on November 4, 2022.
rocket lab released quarterly results on Wednesday that showed record revenue as the space company built on additional contracts won across its businesses.
“The quarter ended strongly for Rocket Lab,” CEO Peter Beck said on the company’s conference call with investors.
The company posted revenue of $63.1 million in the third quarter, up 14% from the second quarter, with an adjusted EBITDA loss of $6.9 million, or 62 % less than in the third quarter of the previous year. He had $333.3 million in cash at the end of the quarter.
Rocket Lab stock is down 61% this year as of Wednesday’s close at $4.74 per share.
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The space company successfully conducted three Electron rocket missions from its New Zealand facilities during the quarter, generating revenue of $23 million. Rocket Lab has achieved a company-record nine launches so far this year.
It plans to complete the first Electron launch from the United States, a long-awaited mission from NASA’s Wallops facility in Virginia, in December after receiving key certification from the space agency. This flight will launch satellites for HawkEye 360, the first of three launches under contract with Rocket Lab to deliver 15 satellites into orbit.
The company also plans to conduct a second Electron launch from Virginia within “weeks” of the first, for “an undisclosed satellite constellation operator.”
Rocket Lab’s Space Systems division generated $40.1 million in revenue during the period. The spacecraft and components business also won a number of contracts during the third quarter.
The company has expanded an existing contract with space company MDA, to support the Globalstar constellation which is heavily used 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 deal.
The company also won two contracts worth $14 million to supply satellite separation systems for satellites built by two companies for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency, as well as a contract from the US Space Force to provide solar power for three missile warning satellites.
Additionally, Rocket Lab has signed a research agreement with the Pentagon’s United States Transportation Command to “explore the use of cargo transportation” with its rockets.
Rocket Lab has begun production of the hardware for its future larger Neutron rocket. Given the necessary research and development expenditures, Rocket Lab CFO Adam Spice said that “achieving and sustaining profitability can only really happen once we’ve completed the majority” of work on Neutron. The rocket is expected to debut in 2024.
Beck emphasized on the call how the work of reusing its existing Electron rockets will contribute to the success of the next-generation vehicle.
“I wouldn’t want to develop a reusable rocket without having all this knowledge and experience of launcher reentry,” Beck said.
The company forecast fourth-quarter revenue to decline, 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 plans to perform about 14 Electron launches next year.