Rocket Lab maintains its steady quarterly revenue despite the space company’s doubled order backlog
On Tuesday, Rocket Lab announced that it has made progress on the Neutron rocket that it is developing and that its order backlog has doubled, going from approximately $241 million in contracts at the end of 2021 to $503.6 million at the end of 2022.
“2022 we are generally very, very happy with, and what’s important to me is that we did what we said we’re going to do,” Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck told.
“We pride ourselves on executing and we’ll back ourselves to execute this year,” Beck added.
The space company also reported a loss of $14.5 million in adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter, which was 75% higher than the loss in the same period a year earlier. Fourth-quarter revenue was $51.8 million, up 88% from the previous year. At the end of the quarter, it had $484.3 million in cash on hand.
During the quarter, Rocket Lab made $12 million from the Electron vehicle’s two successful launches. With $38.8 million, its broader Space Systems division continues to generate the majority of its revenue.
In addition, the company said that the first production building for its upcoming Neutron rocket, which was built at NASA’s Wallops flight facility in Virginia, had been completed. Rocket Lab started making the first structures for the Neutron tanks and building the rocket’s launch pad. According to Beck, the next significant development milestone will occur when the factory’s “complete tanks roll out.”
“With a composite launch vehicle, when the actual parts are coming off the molds, then that’s a far stronger indicator of progress than anything else,” Beck said. “To get to that point where we’re actually manufacturing these parts I think is a huge milestone in itself, but a bigger milestone is when a tank actually rolls out the door.”
Rocket Lab announced a contract with Capella Space for four Electron launches alongside its findings. The second half of the year is when those missions are supposed to begin.
As of Tuesday’s close, Rocket Lab shares were worth $4.50, an increase of 19% so far this year.
The company successfully carried out its first mission from the United States last month. It intends to finish 14 additional Electron launches this year. Rocket Lab anticipates generating approximately $18 million in launch revenue and $32 million to $35 million in Space Systems revenue in the first quarter of 2023.
Beck mentioned that Rocket Lab’s “really heavy investments” in Neutron have an effect on its path to profitability.
“I don’t think we’re terribly off our model in that respect, but it is heavily influenced by the spending rate and the success of the Neutron program, ultimately,” Beck said.
After nine years of advising Rocket Lab, Bessemer Venture Partners’ David Cowan will be leaving the company’s board of directors in the first quarter.