Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a global leader in largely 3D printed launch and space systems, and Vector Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company backed by leading technology investor Vector Capital, have entered into a definitive merger agreement that will result in Rocket Lab becoming a publicly-traded company. The transaction is estimated to be completed in Q2 2021 and, at that time, Vector will change its name to Rocket Lab USA, Inc. and the combined company will trade under the Nasdaq ticker symbol RKLB. The transaction reflects an implied pro forma enterprise value of $4.1 billion for Rocket Lab, representing 5.4x 2025 projected revenue of approximately $750 million.
Peter Beck, CEO and Founder of Rocket Lab, said: “In the history of spaceflight, Rocket Lab is one of only two private companies that has delivered regular and reliable access to orbit. Not only are we the leader in small launch, we are the second most frequently launched rocket in the U.S. annually and the fourth most frequent launcher globally. Space has defined some of humanity’s greatest achievements, and it continues to shape our future. The satellites we build and launch are keeping countries connected and borders protected, monitoring weather and managing waste, providing insights on climate change, and helping us manage resources for future generations.”
The company also unveiled its medium-lift Neutron rocket—an advanced new generation reusable launch vehicle with an 8-ton payload lift capacity tailored for mega constellations, deep space missions and human spaceflight. Neutron will be able to lift more than 90% of all satellites forecast to launch through 2029 and introduce highly disruptive lower costs to the high-growth constellation market by leveraging Electron’s heritage, launch sites and architecture.
Rocket Lab is one of the most interesting firms transforming the way we use and access space by delivering end-to-end solutions across the launch and space systems markets. Since the Company’s first orbital launch in 2018, its innovative Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually. To date, Rocket Lab has delivered 97 satellites to orbit for more than 20 public and private-sector organizations and technology-leading constellation operators.
The customer base for Rocket Lab’s launch systems is evenly split across government and commercial organizations including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as well as commercial satellite leaders. As the first company to deliver regular and reliable dedicated launch services for small satellites, Rocket Lab has also played a leading role in catalyzing the growth of the commercial small satellite industry. The satellites launched by Rocket Lab enable operations in national security, Earth observation, space debris mitigation, weather and climate monitoring, communications and scientific research.
Rocket Lab has an established space systems business that develops satellite and spacecraft solutions for a range of commercial and government missions, from low-Earth orbit constellations to high-complexity deep space and interplanetary missions. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft family delivers a satellite-as-a-service solution that eliminates the typical high cost, time and complexity customers face when building their own satellites. With Rocket Lab, customers can buy a launch, satellite, ground services and on-orbit management as a turn-key package, resulting in a disruptive reduction in cost and time to orbit. Rocket Lab has an operational Photon in orbit, with additional missions to the Moon, Mars and Venus planned. In 2021, Rocket Lab will employ Electron and Photon to launch a satellite to lunar orbit for NASA to serve as a precursor for Gateway, a Moon-orbiting outpost that is part of NASA’s Artemis program to return humans to the lunar surface.
Rocket Lab’s in-house launch and space systems capabilities provide significant competitive advantages in entering the high-growth space applications market that comprises approximately $320 billion of the current $350+ billion space industry TAM.
Alex Slusky, CEO of Vector and Founder & Chief Investment Officer of Vector Capital, said: “Rocket Lab is a once-in-a-generation company that is democratizing access to space through its constant innovation, leading technology and proven execution. Peter is a true visionary who has built a world-class company with discipline and grit. Rocket Lab is ideally positioned to continue to capture market share in the rapidly expanding space launch, systems and applications markets. Vector Capital has a nearly 25-year track record of identifying and building high-growth technology businesses and we are thrilled to partner with Peter and Rocket Lab’s talented team to support the Company’s next generation platforms and capabilities. Vector is thrilled to partner with Rocket Lab as it seeks to capitalize on unprecedented commercial and government spending in the bourgeoning space economy.”
Having reached these milestones—and considering the unprecedented commercial investment and government expenditures driving rapid growth in the space economy—Rocket Lab and its Board of Directors believe that this proposed transaction is the appropriate next step to position the Company for continued success. A strong and building backlog and opportunity pipeline support Rocket Lab’s forecast that the Company will be adjusted EBITDA positive in 2023, cash flow positive in 2024 and cross $1 billion in revenue in 2026.