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Good morning. If your definitional cutoff for space is the Karman line, German astronaut Matthias Maurer will be the 600th human to fly to space this weekend.*

*Unless the weather isn’t cooperating.

Today’s newsletter: 
🛰️ Terran Orbital SPAC
📊 Defense/space Q3
📈 Payload Insights


California → Space Coast → 11 Wall St.

Graphic: Terran Orbital

Terran Orbital is the latest space company that will take its talents to the public markets. Yesterday, the satellite manufacturer announced it would merge with Tailwind Two, a blank-check company.

“We looked at all the different options…SPACs, direct listing, and IPO,” Terran CEO  Marc Bell told Payload. “The SPAC was the least risky way to raise capital and go public.” 

Deal details: Terran’s post-merger valuation will be ~$1.58B. Upon the transaction closing, expected some time in Q1 2022, the combined entity will list on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker LLAP.

Terran is a vertically integrated satellite manufacturer, involved in design, production, launch provisioning, mission control, and in-space support. Terran manages 32 ground stations. The manufacturer is also developing its own synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellation.

A month ago, Terran announced it will develop a $300M, 660K-sq.-ft. satellite factory on Florida’s Space Coast, with financing from the state government. 

Asked if he’s worried about the volatility and always-watchful eye of the public markets, Bell said Terran’s line of work within the larger space industry is largely de-risked. “We have a stable customer,” Bell said. “We build busses.” 

+ For more: Read our full story.


Primes’ Q3 Earnings Roundup 

Photo: NASA

Most of the US defense and aerospace contractors reported quarterly earnings this week. 

  • Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) recorded a sizable earnings beat but missed on revenue, with $16B in total Q3 sales. Space systems sales dropped 5.2% year-over-year (YoY) to $2.7B. 
  • Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) told a similar story: earnings beat, but the company’s ~$8.7B in Q3 revenue fell short of analysts’ expectations. Notably, the company’s space systems Q3 revenue rose 22% YoY to ~$2.7B.
  • General Dynamics (NYSE: GD): Q3 sales totaled ~$9.6B. Aerospace revenues were ~$2.1B, up 4.6% YoY.  
  • Raytheon (NYSE: RTX) also missed on revenue expectations ($16.2B). Subsidiary Collins Aerospace sales were ~$4.6B.

As for Boeing (NYSE: BA)…Boeing’s defense and space unit posted ~$6.6 billion in Q3 revenue. The company reported a $185M earnings charge on technical issues with Starliner. In January 2020, the industry giant took a $410M charge due to a Starliner test do-over. 

…and Airbus (EPA: AIR). Airbus posted strong results for the first nine months of 2021. Its defense and space segment posted ~$6.9 billion in Q1/Q2/Q3 revenue.


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In Other News

  • Sexism and harassment are widespread across NASA, Blue Origin, SpaceX, and other major space players, according to an in-depth Florida Today investigation. 
  • NASA says Lucy’s anomalous solar array is 75%–90% deployed. Officials are weighing next steps, which include leaving the array as is or redeploying it.
  • The UAE may tap Indian space agency ISRO for launch services, an Emirati official tells India Today. 
  • South Korea and the US are holding joint space situal awareness drills, SpaceNews reports.

Payload Insights


The View from Mars