After rockets and spacecraft, Rocket Lab’s next frontier could be applications

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Rocket Lab is exploring possible applications for a constellation of satellites that they would build, launch and operate internally, like SpaceX’s Starlink business, to generate recurring revenue, an executive said this week.

“If you look at where we ultimately want to go, in many ways we want to emulate what [SpaceX] has been successful, allowing them to make their way into the app market,” said Adam Spice, CFO of Rocket Lab. “SpaceX chose consumer broadband and other applications over Starlink for their space anchor application. We are evaluating many different constellation application opportunities.

“Ultimately, we view end-to-end as not just building and launching, but also building, launching, operating and generating recurring revenue from the end customer relationship,” he said. he declared.

Rocket Lab has already made great strides toward becoming a full-service space company: the company flies its small Electron rocket for commercial and defense customers; it is developing a larger Neutron rocket, similar in size and payload capacity to SpaceX’s Falcon 9, which is poised to fly for the first time late this year; and it operates a growing space systems business, which includes products ranging from complete satellite buses to spacecraft components, such as solar panels and jet wheels.

Spice’s comments, made at TD Cowen’s 45th annual Aerospace and Defense Conference on Feb. 14, show the company is looking to expand even more vertically.

In recent months, Rocket Lab has also expanded its collaboration with US government agencies, including his winning of a $515 million contract to build 18 satellites for the Space Development Agency. The company leveraged its vertical integration to win this contract and will build all critical parts of the satellite bus under this agreement. Where Rocket Lab relies most on third-party suppliers is for the payload portion of the spacecraft, Spice said.

But the company also wants to close this gap. Earlier this month, Rocket Lab announced that it had closed a $355 million convertible note offering, and Spice said the new funding will allow the company to “inorganically build its way to more capacity.” payload “.

This means more acquisitions. Rocket Lab has already made four acquisitions to strengthen its end-to-end capabilities, but Spice has been unequivocal that the company is looking for more.

“Right now is a great time to go shopping because the ability to raise capital for most companies is very, very, very difficult,” he explained. “So we see real opportunities […] We see other distressed assets that are quality technology that we can add to our portfolio.

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