Good morning. When it comes to naming missions, Rocket Lab is truly undefeated. Yesterday, the launcher said its first Electron mission could lift off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia as soon as December 7.
The name of the mission? “Virginia is for Launch Lovers.”
In today's newsletter:
🛰️ Terran’s take (and Q3 results)
🗣️ Reader survey pt. 2
📝 The contract report
📈 Payload Insights
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Terran Orbital Releases Q3 Results
Last week, Terran Orbital ($LLAP) announced that Lockheed Martin ($LMT) had invested $100M into the business, upping the prime’s stake from 9.4% to 33.5%. Yesterday, Terran released its Q3 results, giving us a closer look into how the business is doing.
The business outlook
Last quarter, Terran Orbital brought in $27.8M in revenue, higher than any quarter previously, but faced net losses of $27.4M. Other key numbers from Q3 2022:
- Backlog = $198M
- Adj. EBITDA = -$13.9M
- Cash on hand = $35.8M
- Gross debt obligations = $202M
Behind the scenes, Terran has been hiring and scaling its manufacturing in Irvine, CA, growing its staff to more than 440 employees, ~78% higher than its workforce at the beginning of 2022. “We've been growing by leaps and bounds,” Terran Orbital CEO Marc Bell told Payload.
Changes in motion
The plan at Terran Orbital looks pretty different than it did a few months ago.
Goodbye, PredaSAR…The company scrapped plans to launch its own 96-satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellation. Now, it will focus on selling SAR satellites, rather than operating any in house.
“After the conflict started in Ukraine, we started getting lots of calls. People are interested in [SAR] and we decided, you know, we don't want to compete with our customers,” Bell said. “We decided it was better for us to work with our customers and sell them satellites than to own a constellation.”
The company has seen interest in these satellites from allied governments that previously relied on American SAR assets, but now want to own those capabilities themselves. “Our total addressable market has gone up dramatically,” Bell said.
The first PredaSAR constellation launch had been slated for the first half of 2023. The company is looking into the potential to keep that launch on the books, on behalf of an as-yet-unnamed customer.
Goodbye, Florida…Terran Orbital’s plan to construct a 660,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Florida is also a thing of the past. Bell says the decision came down to timing. The Florida facility would have taken three years to build. Leasing more space and ramping production in Irvine, CA, where Terran’s manufacturing is already based, was a more enticing and expeditious proposition.
In the past 12 months, the company has rented out an additional 140,000 sq ft, and is planning to open another facility in Irvine in 2023.
And hello, Lockheed…Most of Terran’s backlog right now points straight to its contract through Lockheed to build 10 Tranche 0 and 42 Tranche 1 satellites for the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) distributed LEO communications network. Lockheed’s $100M investment and thirteen-year strategic cooperation agreement will expand Terran Orbital’s access to government contracts and deepen ties between the two firms.
Despite the deepened ties with a prime, Bell still says Terran is the last independent satellite bus manufacturer on the market. That affords freedom to take on projects that its competition can’t.
“I've been very lucky that all my competitors have been acquired,” Bell said. “Millennium got acquired by Boeing, Blue Canyon got acquired by Raytheon, and York Space was the last one left and got acquired by AE Industrial. So we're the last independent one left.”
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Soar to New Heights in the Birthplace of Aviation
Ohio’s space industry is meeting the needs of our nation and is uniquely positioned for future growth. Our federal partners have the capabilities and facilities for testing advanced materials, in-space power and propulsion, and complete system integration of satellites, spacecraft, and propulsion engines.
The space industry also continues to make investments here in Ohio for R&D to mature new technologies that lower risk and cost to space. This includes Voyager Space’s announcement of The Ohio State University as the terrestrial site of the George Washington Carver Science Park (GWCSP), the research core of the Starlab commercial space station focused on sustaining human life in space.
Get on the leading edge of aerospace R&D by joining defense, civil, and commercial partners advancing the nation’s space missions from Ohio.
In Other News
- Philippine officials found metal debris at sea suspected to be from the Long March 5B that launched China’s Mengtian module—and then made an uncontrolled reentry—last week.
- China nixed plans for an expendable Long March 9 in favor of a reusable variant of the super-heavy developmental launcher, SpaceNews reports.
- Saudi Arabia authorized E-Space to supply space-based communications in the kingdom.
- ULA launched NOAA and NASA’s JPSS-2 satellite at 4:49am Eastern this morning from Vandenberg. The mission also hoisted LOFTID to space.
- NG-18, Northrop’s ($NOC) cargo ship that recently docked with the space station, “may perform one or more reboosts to the ISS” if requested by NASA.
- Spire ($SPIR) Q3 results: $20.4M in revenue (+114% YoY); ARR of $98.1M (+117% YoY); a net loss of $21.8M (vs. $56.1M in Q3 ‘21); and $81.8M in cash/equivalents.
- Rocket Lab ($RKLB) Q3 results: $63.1M in revenue (+1,093% YoY); a $34.6M net loss (vs. $87.9M in Q3 ‘21); and $502.7M in cash/equivalents. Management guided to Q4 revenue of $51M–$54M.
The Contract Report
- OHB Sweden and Exolaunch signed a hardware agreement to transport the former’s MATS satellite to its final orbital destination.
- Sierra Space announced that it will participate in a JAXA feasibility study for sustainable LEO operations.
- Rocket Lab ($RKLB) was chosen by Inmarsat (LON:ISAT) to develop and manufacture an L-band radio in support of NASA’s Communications Services Project (CSP).
- Frontier Precision and Synspective partnered to distribute the latter’s SAR products across North America.
- Airbus (PA:AIR) signed an LOI with Space Compass to service the Japanese market with mobile connectivity and earth observation services with Airbus’ Zephyr platform.
- Eutelsat Communications (PA:ETL) inked a deal with Tizeti, a West African solar-based internet service provider, to jointly improve broadband penetration in Nigeria.
- SES (PA:SASG) picked Arianespace to launch satellite EAGLE-1 for Europe’s secure end-to-end Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system.
- QinetiQ US won a $48M contract for R&D and engineering for image processing and advanced optics technologies for the US Army.
- JetBlue ($JBLU) selected Tomorrow.io to provide end-to-end weather forecasting technologies for its global operations.
- Virgin Australia chose Intelsat for IFC services across its existing fleet of Boeing 737 NG aircraft and future 737 MAX jets.
Yesterday, Mo dished his thoughts on current events: “Crypto may be on fire but US Aerospace and Defense has rallied 6% since I last posted this chart three months ago. The iShares A&D ETF is now up 6.5% YTD vs S&P 500 down 20% and NASDAQ down 33%.”
And here’s a less quantitative analysis from Ryan:
my self-interested 2¢ on current events is that the space industry can reclaim the 🚀 emoji from crypto once and for all
— Ryan Duffy (@Ryandoofy)
Nov 9, 2022
Just some food for thought 🚀🚀🚀…Anyways, after Parallax goes out this afternoon, that’s a wrap from the Payload team for the week. We’ll see you back here on Monday!