Back to life (3/8/23)
Happy Hump Day. Good luck and have fun today, readers…especially if you happen to work at a rocket company with a bunch of huge 3D printers in your office.
In today's edition...
🚀 Launch pads at the Cape
📊 BlackSky, Momentus Q4 results
🌎 Payload, SkyFi, & SXSW
💸 The term sheet
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USSF Allocates Launch Pads at the Cape
A handful of new launch companies will soon head down to Cape Canaveral to set up shop at newly dedicated launch pads.
USSF announced last night that it has begun to implement its Launch Pad Allocation Strategy (LPAS), which is intended to give more launch companies an opportunity to launch from the historic launch site. With this initial implementation, USSF granted launch pads to four small launch companies:
- ABL Space at Space Launch Complex (SLC) 15
- Stoke Space at SLC 14
- Phantom Space and Vaya Space splitting SLC 13
These launch pads have been left mostly unused for decades.
“The opportunity to reactivate this site is a profound responsibility that our entire team holds in the highest regard,” Stoke CEO Andy Lapsa said in a press release. “As we bring LC-14 back to life and carry its legacy into the future, we will be sure to do so in a way that preserves its existing history and pays homage to those who came before us.”
Looking ahead: This is only the beginning of USSF’s initiative to bring more launchers down to the Cape. The first round focused on small launchers. Next up, Space Launch Delta 45 hopes to allocate launch pads to medium, heavy, and super-heavy lift rocket companies.
BlackSky Reports Q4 Results
BlackSky ($BKSY) is paring losses, winning key contracts, and seeing a near-term path to (adjusted) profitability. Those were the key takeaways bright and early at 7:30am on Tuesday, when the Herndon, VA satellite operator reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2022 financial results.
For the full year, BlackSky pulled in $65.4M in revenue, up 92% over the prior year.
BlackSky’s Q4, by the numbers:
- Revenue of $19.4M, up 69% YoY
- Operating loss of $18.3M, a 42% annual decrease
- $75M in cash and equivalents ending 2022
- Adj. EBITDA loss of $4.6M (vs. $14.4M YoY)
A big year: “We won up to $1.3 billion in multi-year contracts, nearly doubled revenues to $65.4 million, and demonstrated significant margin performance,” BlackSky CEO Brian E. O’Toole noted in the earnings release. “This high level of execution has put us on a path to achieving positive adjusted EBITDA in Q4 of 2023.”
The immediate reaction: As of market close Tuesday, $BKSY shares last traded hands at $1.80 a pop, down 6.74% from Monday’s closing price of $1.93.
Breaking it down: Sales of imagery and analytical services dominated BlackSky’s growth and revenue last year, clocking in at $16.2M in Q4 (a 196% annual jump). US and allied international government customers, both old and new, were the primary drivers of this growth.
The year in review…O’Toole cited “increased customer demand worldwide for BlackSky’s dynamic monitoring and analytic solutions” as the catalyst that helped the company win $1.3B in multi-year contracts last year.
The year ahead…The company also announced $29.5M in private placement financing and its first new contract of 2022 on Tuesday. BlackSky secured $150M to provide space-based GEOINT-as-a-service to an international ministry of defense.
+ And while we’re here…BlackSky is currently flying 14 satellites, with plans to send #15 and #16 to space this month. The satellite operator will send two high-res, Gen-2 birds to orbit with The Beat Goes On, one of two Rocket Lab launches on the books for March.
For Momentus, Cash is King
Momentus ($MNTS) is in a race against its cash burn.
That’s the read from the space tug developer’s Q4 results, which portend a runway crunch in the coming year. At the same time, though, Momentus touted key new customer wins and a clean bill of health for its Vigoride-5 space tug. And it also has two more Vigoride missions on the books for 2023.
Momentus Q4 2022 Results
- Adj. EBITDA loss of $15.5M
- Net income loss of $24.4M
- $61.1M of cash/equivalents to close out 2022
Vigoride-5 update: Momentus launched its second Vigoride tug in early January aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-6. Unlike Vigoride-3, the tug’s first flight last year, Momentus was able to power up the orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) and establish communications.
Two months later, the vehicle is in good condition. Momentus will soon test its powered flight capabilities before deploying a Qosmosys payload in its designated orbit.
A Bumpy Ride
Momentus has faced challenges during its two years as a public company, including two major lawsuits, a costly separation agreement with its founders, and the loss of communication with its first Vigoride flight.
Customer ups and downs
- Momentus reported several recent customer wins, including deals with CONTEC, Australian Research Council Training Centre, and a two-mission agreement with Fossa.
- These wins only partially offset a slumping backlog, which has decreased from $67M at the start of 2022 to $33M by year-end.
Management and investors have zeroed in on the company’s $6.8M monthly cash burn. Momentus had $160M in cash at the end of 2021, $81.6M at the end of Q3 2022, and $61.1M on Dec. 31.
“We believe the company has sufficient liquidity to meet its needs for the next 12 months,” interim CFO Dennis Mahoney said on Tuesday’s earnings call. Momentus plans to tap capital markets to avoid a liquidity shortfall, but with a market cap of ~$61M and shares trading below $1, more funding may come at a steep price.
+ Stock pulse check: $MNTS is down 17% year-to-date and 66% over the last year. Shares of $MNTS were off 4% on Tuesday. In pre-market trading, the stock is up 2.8%.
Let’s do launch
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Come Through the First-Ever SkyFi Summit
We've partnered with SkyFi to present the SkyFi Summit next week at SXSW in Austin, TX. Join us for a DJ’ed happy hour event on Tuesday, March 14 from 2–6 PM at Inn Cahoots on East 6th.
Enjoy free drinks at the bar while discussing the latest developments in Earth observation and space.
Register now for the SkyFi Summit! 🌎
In Other News
- NASA’s interstellar boundary-exploring spacecraft is back in business after a successful reset.
- SiriusXM ($SIRI) is laying off 475 employees, or 8% of its total workforce.
- The Pentagon had planned to launch a hypersonic test missile over the weekend, Florida Today reports, but scrubbed due to pre-launch checks.
- NASA, NOAA, and Commerce will conduct a comprehensive study of the civil space industrial base.
- The launch window for Rocket Lab ($RKLB) and Capella’s Stronger Together opens March 11 at 6pm. The mission will lift off from Wallops.
- Boeing completed a successful test of its anti-jamming capabilities on DoD satellites.
- Artemis II remains on track for a Nov. 2024 launch.
The Term Sheet
- TRM Equity acquired Gamma, a manufacturer of A&D machined components, for an undisclosed amount.
- Lonestar, a lunar data center developer, secured a $5M seed round led by Scout Ventures, SpaceNews reports.
- Virgin Orbit ($VORB) received an additional $5M from an investment vehicle controlled by Sir Richard Branson (H/T Parabolic Arc).
- ArianeGroup invested €6M (~$6.4M) into MaiaSpace, bringing its total investment in the subsidiary to €10.9M ($11.5M), European Spaceflight reported last week.
- BlackSky is set to bank $29.5M after agreeing to sell 16.4M shares of common stock in a private placement.
- Airbus bought back €21.1M ($22.3M) worth of shares between Feb. 27 and Mar. 3.
- The UK Space Agency invested £1.6M ($1.9M) into eight projects supporting future human spaceflight missions to the Moon and Mars.
- Viasat ($VSAT) was provisionally cleared by UK regulators to move forward with its proposed $7.3B Inmarsat merger. (But in February, EU antitrust cops opened a full investigation into the proposed deal, warning that it could reduce competition in the in-flight connectivity market).
The View from Space
Fort Bourange, Netherlands (side-by-side)
— Umbra (@umbraspace)
Mar 6, 2023