Q3 Earnings Roundup: BlackSky, Rocket Lab + Virgin Galactic

Image: Rocket Lab

A trio of space companies announced Q3 earnings yesterday. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good: BlackSky

Satellite imagery startup BlacksSky reported a profitable quarter, with net income of $675,000, compared to a net loss of $13.1M in the same time period last year. The company also pulled in $21.3M in revenue, a 26% boost from the third quarter of 2022.  

“New contracts and renewal agreements primarily supporting US and international government agencies illustrates growing demand and demonstrates how BlackSky is increasingly relied upon by some of the most demanding customers around the world,” CEO Brian E. O’Toole said. 

BlackSky has $51.5M of cash and cash equivalents on hand. The company also narrowed its yearly revenue outlook to between $84M and $90M, which would be 33% higher than last year. 

The bad: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab reported a $40.6M net loss in the third quarter, or about 8 cents per share, putting the company about $6M further into the red than in the same time period last year.

But there’s reason for optimism looking forward as the company looks to get back to the launch pad after an anomaly during a Sept. 19 launch. 

“We’ve been laser-focused this quarter on the return to service of Electron,” CEO Peter Beck said in a statement. “The cause of the anomaly is a highly complex set of conditions that are extremely difficult to replicate in testing.” 

The company will close its investigation into the mishap “in the coming weeks,” but Beck said all indications point to problems within a power supply system that shorted out a battery pack that powers the rocket’s upper stage. Electron could get back to the pad in just a couple weeks—the window for its first flight back opens Nov. 28.

The ugly: Virgin Galactic

The space tourism company announced it would lay off 185 employees to focus resources on building its new fleet of Delta spaceships. 

“This is a tough moment… but these actions are being taken to remove reliance on unpredictable capital markets, and these actions protect our ability to succeed as we build and lead our industry through the long term,” CEO Michael Colglazier said in a memo to staff on Tuesday.

The company, which has flown six commercial flights in six months, reported $1.7M in revenue in the quarter, up from $800,000 last year, and a net loss of $105M, an improvement from a loss of $146M last year. 

Colglazier said the company is aiming to have its first two Delta ships in service and achieve positive cash flow in 2026.

Correction: This article previously incorrectly stated BlackSky’s net income during the third quarter. It is $675,000.

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