Rocket Lab Wins $515M Spacecraft Contract

Image: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab’s ($RKLB) space systems business got a major boost just before the year drew to a close. The company disclosed in a regulatory filing Dec. 21 that it had clinched a $515M contract from an unidentified government customer to design, build, deliver, and operate 18 spacecraft.

The contract: According to the filing, Rocket Lab is going to get started right away building the batch of government sats. The details:

  • A base contract value of $489M, with incentives and options to bring the total value up to $515M.
  • A target launch in 2027 and operation through 2030, with an option to extend operations another three years through 2033.

Rocket Lab didn’t disclose the government customer in its filing. Rumor has it, though, that the Space Development Agency could be behind it. 

  • Agency chief Derek Tournear hinted last month that discussions were on for another supplier to build 18 sats for its Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA), a sprawling LEO constellation to support secure military operations.
  • If those comments apply, then Rocket Lab would be adding to the Transport Layer’s Tranche 2 Beta, which consists of communication satellites.

Space systems up: Rocket Lab’s spacecraft division has been pulling in more revenue than its launch business lately. Electron has returned to flight, but its grounding through much of the second half of 2023 after a launch failure put a damper on the segment’s earning ability. Space Systems led the company’s revenue generation in Q3, pulling in $46.3M.

Market check: $RKLB is trading up ~24% since Dec. 21.

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