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Rocket Lab Announces Third Quarter 2023 Financial Results

November 08, 2023

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. shared the financial results for fiscal third quarter, ended September 30, 2023.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said: “Rocket Lab’s third quarter began strongly with two successful Electron missions that accelerated our recovery program to make Electron the world’s first reusable small orbital rocket. Following the subsequent September 19th anomaly, we’ve been laser-focused this quarter on the return to service of Electron. The cause of the anomaly is a highly complex set of conditions that are extremely difficult to replicate in testing. However, we believe the findings of the Rocket Lab investigation team overwhelmingly indicate that an electrical arc occurred within the power supply system that provides high voltage to the Rutherford engine’s motor controllers, shorting the battery packs which provide power to the launch vehicle’s upper stage. With growing confidence in our determination of the anomaly’s probable root cause and corrective measures in place, we expect to formally close our investigation in the coming weeks. Electron’s return to flight is scheduled during a launch window that opens from November 28, 2023, and extends into December.

“Over the same period, we’ve progressed the development of Neutron with numerous achievements including a milestone stage two tank test, the crucial validation of methane and LOX combustion in Archimedes igniter testing, and infrastructure scaling for Neutron launch development and engine testing across Virginia, California, and Mississippi. We’ve also secured seven HASTE hypersonic missions with prime defense customers in the past six months, demonstrating the success of our market approach for hypersonic test development for the nation. In Space Systems, the production of spacecraft in our largest program, the $143m Globalstar contract with MDA, has continued on schedule ahead of the first spacecraft delivery in Q1 2024. We also continue to ramp on a new spacecraft contract for a confidential customer this current quarter, as Rocket Lab demonstrates its ability to win and execute critical satellite manufacturing contracts.”

Third Quarter 2023 Business Highlights:

Launched two successful Electron missions in the third quarter. The missions were back-to-back recovery launches as part of Rocket Lab’s program to make Electron the world’s first reusable small orbital rocket. The first mission of the quarter deployed seven satellites for customers NASA, SFL, and Spire, before completing a successful ocean splashdown and recovery of Electron’s first stage. The second mission of the quarter deployed a satellite for Capella Space and achieved several milestones for Rocket Lab’s reusability program, including both another ocean splashdown of the first stage and a successful flight of the previously-flown Rutherford engine for the first time.

Confirmed authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to resume Electron launches from Launch Complex 1 following an in-flight anomaly on September 19th during the Company’s 41st Electron launch.

Announced that Electron will return to the pad at Launch Complex 1 for a dedicated commercial mission for Japan-based Earth imaging customer iQPS during a launch window which opens on November 28, 2023, and extends into December.

Continued strong growth in Electron bookings for 2024, with the Company’s launch manifest fully allocated for 2024 and into early 2025.

Business Highlights Since September 30, 2023:

Acquired assets and production resources in Warkworth, New Zealand, enabling further vertical integration of critical composites production and design capabilities for both Electron and Neutron rockets. More than 50 staff and accompanying advanced manufacturing assets were retained with the acquisition.

Officially opened the Company’s Engine Development Center in Long Beach, California that will support the high-rate production of the Electron launch vehicle’s Rutherford engine, as well as the development and production of the Neutron launch vehicle’s Archimedes engine.

Numerous milestone achievements in the Neutron program, including the conclusion of a crucial cryogenic test campaign for the Neutron second stage; completed production of full-scale Archimedes engine structures and components for upcoming development tests; and significant site improvements at both Launch Complex 3 at Wallops Island, Virginia and Archimedes Engine Test Stand in Stennis, Mississippi ahead of Archimedes engine testing and qualification phase.

Continued strong growth in HASTE bookings for hypersonic test launches from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 in Virginia. Newly-announced HASTE mission for the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to deploy a scramjet-powered suborbital payload by Australian company Hypersonix is the seventh launch contract Rocket Lab has secured with prime hypersonic defense customers in the past six months.

Secured a new Space Systems contract that includes spacecraft build with key components supplied by Rocket Lab; two significant milestones invoiced as part of the $143m contract with MDA for Globalstar; and Rocket Lab satellite components put into operations in the groundbreaking deep-space NASA Psyche mission deployed on October 13, 2023.

Fourth Quarter 2023 Guidance

For the Fourth quarter of 2023, Rocket Lab expects:

Revenue between $65 million and $69 million.

Space Systems revenue between $48.5 million to $52.5 million.

Launch Services revenue of approximately $16.5 million.

GAAP Gross Margins between 24% to 26%.

Non-GAAP Gross Margins between 30% to 32%.

GAAP Operating Expenses between $61 million to $63 million.

Non-GAAP Operating Expenses between $50 million to $52 million.

Expected Interest Expense (Income), net $2 million.

Adjusted EBITDA loss of $23 million to $27 million.

Basic Shares Outstanding of 487 million.

For the First quarter 2024, Rocket Lab expects:

Revenue between $95 million and $105 million.

Space Systems revenue between $65 million to $68 million.

Launch Services revenue between $30 million to $37 million.

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Rocket Lab Announces Third Quarter 2023 Financial Results