Good morning. It’s a long one today—let’s get right into it.
In today’s newsletter:
💸 Earnings szn
🚀 $ASTR, spacetech, & Scotland
📝 The contract report
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Q1 Earnings Recap
Even if most of us may not want to think about financial markets right now, earnings season is in full swing. Let’s run through four results from this week, bucketed into two categories.
Momentus ($MNTS) reported $0 in Q1 revenue on Monday and a $26M net loss. There’s a lot riding on the success of its first Vigoride orbital transfer vehicle, which is slated to launch on a Falcon 9 later this month. The vehicle, which recently gained full regulatory approval, is fully integrated with Falcon 9 and “go for launch,” Momentus said today.
Moving right along to Virgin Orbit ($VORB)…Tuesday, the air launcher reported $2.1M in revenue, down 61.8% YoY. Virgin attributed higher sales from Q1 2021 to “launches contracted during early development phase with introductory pricing.” Net loss nearly doubled YoY to ~$63M.
Looking forward, the company touted upcoming launches, new contracts (which you’ll read about below), and the flexibility of its launch system:
- “With the escalating geopolitical environment, our ability to launch from airports around the world has attracted growing interest,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said. “The differentiated capabilities of our system can uniquely serve the national security community and our allies.”
Now, for Earth observation
BlackSky ($BKSY) revenue grew 91% YoY to a record $13.9M for the defense/intelligence-focused EO company, with “imagery and software analytical services” revenue jumping 63% YoY.
- In Q1, BlackSky booked a net loss of $20M.
- It ended the quarter with ~$138M in cash.
- For more on BlackSky, read our recent Q+A with CEO Brian O’Toole.
Spire ($SPIR) reported revenue of $18.1M (+86% YoY) and annual recurring revenue (ARR) of $81.6M (+134%). Spire’s GAAP operating loss was $20M (+56% YoY), and the company ended Q1 with ~$92M in cash on hand (a 16% quarterly drop).
- Non-GAAP operating loss beat guidance by $2M at $12.8M.
- Both quarterly revenue and ARR topped Spire’s previously provided guidance.
- Spire added 29 net new customers.
- They grow up so fast: In January, Spire saw six of its satellites launch with separate providers just six hours apart. One of those launches included Spire’s 150th satellite, which has 100X more processing power than the company’s first-gen system.
- Fun fact: Spire touted a “top Formula One team” as a key customer win. The F1 team uses Spire’s weather data to help inform preparation and race day decisions.
- Looking forward: Spire guided to $18M–$19M in Q2 revenue, and $85M–$90M for the full year.
Widen the aperture: Even with the EO companies posting their strongest quarterly results yet, the path to profitability still appears to be a long and winding one. Investors have been unrelenting in their bearish assessment of space SPACs.
Astra Plans to Launch Across the Pond
Earlier this week, Astra ($ASTR) announced plans to launch from SaxaVord Spaceport in the United Kingdom. Pending regulatory approvals, Astra hopes to begin launching from the facility by 2023.
According to Astra, SaxaVord will expand the company’s capacity at key inclinations and accelerate access to space for customers launching in the UK.
One of the key aspects of the Astra launch system is its ability to be bundled into mobile shipping containers and transported anywhere in the world. Once at its location, the system requires very little infrastructure besides a simple concrete launchpad.
Construction status: SaxaVord construction is being planned in the northernmost region of the Shetland Islands.. The facility received long-awaited planning permission earlier this year, and a formal Spaceport and Range License application was submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority in March. It is currently unclear when construction will officially commence.
+ While we’re here: Today, Astra is holding its first investor-focused “Spacetech Day” at its factory and offices in the Bay Area. We’re attending—shoot us a note if you are too.
Bringing together experience and innovation.
Maxar Space Infrastructure capabilities combine a pioneering legacy with forward-thinking to deliver on the promise of flexible, cost-effective space manufacturing with the reliability we’ve proven for 60 years. Today, more than 2.4 billion people rely on a Maxar-built satellite for connectivity.
Maxar builds solutions for space-based communication, robotics, power and propulsion, Earth observation, exploration and on-orbit servicing and assembly.
Their services include mission systems engineering, product design, spacecraft manufacturing, assembly integration and testing.
In Other News
- Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a legislative bill to stand up a US Space National Guard.
- Axiom broke ground on a new Houston HQ based near Ellington Airport, where the Texas city’s spaceport is located.
- The US, EU, UK, Canada, and Estonia formally attributed the cyberattack on Viasat to Russia.
- The Pentagon’s inspector general upheld the decision to rebase US Space Command from Colorado Springs, CO to Huntsville, AL.
- Polaris Dawn commander Jared Isaacman told Spaceflight Now that mission training will begin this month.
- Terran Orbital ($LLAP) has shipped its CAPSTONE spacecraft to Rocket Lab’s ($RKLB) New Zealand launchpad. The craft, slated for an Electron launch this spring, will ride on a Photon bus and perform a “ballistic lunar transfer” pathfinder mission to support Artemis.
- Spinlaunch published a first-person POV video of a suborbital test flight from its kinetic launcher. It’s definitely worth a watch, but be warned that you may get a ‘lil dizzy.
- A group of engineers, execs, and space enthusiasts purchased 53 acres of Colorado land to build Star Harbor, a spaceflight campus for training astronauts and testing flight components, Ars reports.
The Contract Report
- Quebec’s government said it will spend $39M ($50M Canadian dollars) to procure rural broadband from Starlink and connect ~10,000 homes.
- Southwest Airlines will use Viasat’s ($VSAT) in-flight connectivity services on all new aircraft starting this fall.
- Virgin Orbit ($VORB) signed a launch services deal with iQPS, a Japanese EO constellation developer, for a mission in early 2023. This summer, NRO and the UK MoD will launch a joint mission with Virgin Orbit. Finally, Virgin and L3Harris Technologies ($LHX) agreed to acquire two Boeing 747-400 airframes.
- Spire Global ($SPIR) will integrate its satellite weather data with Gale Force’s maritime routing service to find routes that cut travel time, fuel costs, and carbon emissions. In another deal, Spire will install Kepler Communications’ Ku-Band data transmission service on at least three and up to fifty satellites.
- L3Harris agreed to provide advanced booster avionics to Northrop Grumman as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
- Australia’s DoD awarded a $15M contract to Gilmour Space Technologies, the country’s largest space company, to develop and launch a new sovereign surveillance satellite.
- EOS Data Analytics, an AI-powered satellite imaging company, will provide EO services in Ukraine through a new partnership with European satellite operator GEOSAT.
- Sidus Space ($SIDU) and Dhruva Space signed an MoU to further collaborations that support US and Indian space missions.
- Blue Canyon Technologies selected space transportation company Dawn Aerospace to provide turnkey chemical propulsion systems for the X-SAT Saturn satellite bus.
- Globalstar, a SATCOM provider, entered an agreement with an unnamed “large, global customer” to deploy some of its spectrum for terrestrial use, per SpaceNews.
The View from Florida
Boeing’s Starliner capsule is cleared and ready to fly an uncrewed mission to the ISS next week, NASA announced yesterday.
We hosted our first IRL event this past Tuesday in El Segundo and many, many of you showed up. We were thrilled with the turnout, and can’t thank our sponsors Crowell & Moring and Galvanick enough for making the whole thing possible.
The message was loud and clear: the space industry loves and needs more community. We’ve got a few plans up our sleeves to continue building just that and can’t wait to meet more of you.