Rocket Lab Announces Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results, Issues Guidance for Fourth Quarter

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

Q3 2021 Financial Results Highlights

  • Revenue above high end of prior guidance range at $5.3 million
  • Backlog increased from $141 million at June 30, 2021 to $183 million as of September 30, 2021, and currently stands at $237 million as of November 15, 2021
  • Space Systems revenue in the third quarter 2021 grew 360% over the same quarterly period in 2020 to represent 27% of total revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2021
  • Successfully completed the merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation resulting in ending cash balance at September 30, 2021 of $792.7 million

Q4 2021 Guidance

  • Revenue to range between $23 million to $25 million
  • GAAP and non-GAAP gross margins of 13 percent and 27 percent, respectively
  • GAAP and non-GAAP operating expenses between $24 million to $26 million, and $19 million to $21 million, respectively
  • GAAP Net Loss between $24 million and $26 million, and Adjusted EBITDA loss of $9 million to $11 million, which reflects adjustments for stock-based compensation, 3rd party fees associated with M&A activity, depreciation and amortization, FX gains and losses, interest expense, taxes and other recurring and non-recurring items
  • All of the above exclude any warrant expense impacts from the public and private warrants assumed from the Vector Acquisition Corporation merger that closed on August 25, 2021, and also excludes any impacts from the Advance Solutions Inc. acquisition and related purchase price accounting, and excludes any financial contributions and accounting impacts from the pending Planetary Systems Corporation acquisition announced today

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended September 30, 2021.

“In the third quarter of 2021, Rocket Lab continued to deliver reliable end-to-end space services, including completing another successful Electron launch delivering a satellite to orbit for the United States Space Force, progressing development of the Lunar Photon spacecraft for the upcoming CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA, and delivering the highest volume of star trackers and reaction wheels to customers in a single quarter from our satellite components business,” said Rocket Lab Founder and CEO, Peter Beck. “At the same time, we continue to see strong growth from constellation customers selecting Electron as their preferred launch vehicle to deploy spacecraft across multiple missions. In the third quarter, this growth in constellation customers included entering into a contract with global Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity provider Kinéis to deploy 25 satellites across five dedicated Electron launches. This multi-launch constellation contract follows on from the five-launch contract with geospatial intelligence constellation operator BlackSky signed earlier this year.”

Third Quarter 2021 Business Highlights:

  • Successfully launched a dedicated mission for the United States Space Force in July. The mission was Rocket Lab’s second for the Space Test Program and the company’s 21st Electron launch overall. It brought the number of satellites deployed to orbit by Rocket Lab to 105.
  • Awarded a $24.35 million contract by the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command for development of the Neutron launch vehicle’s upper stage. The agreement signifies Rocket Lab’s commitment to becoming a launch provider for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program, which launches the United States’ most critical missions.
  • Entered into a contract with Astroscale Japan Inc to launch an orbital debris removal demonstration satellite.
  • Expanded the company’s space systems footprint with the commencement of construction on a new high volume reaction wheel production facility.
  • Entered into a contract with global Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity provider Kinéis to deploy 25 satellites across five dedicated Electron launches.
  • Signed launch services agreements to deploy satellites for Alba Orbital and Aurora Propulsion Technologies.
  • Passed a key design review and received NASA approval to move toward launch for ESCAPADE, a twin Photon mission to Mars led by the University of California Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory.
  • Selected to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System designed to test new deployable structures and materials technologies for solar sail propulsion systems.

Since September 30, 2021 Rocket Lab also:

  • Acquired Colorado-based space software company Advanced Solutions, Inc. which delivers mission proven space software, mission simulation and test systems, and Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) solutions.
  • Entered into an agreement to acquire Planetary Systems Corporation, a Maryland-based provider of mechanical separation systems and satellite dispensers with 100% mission success heritage to date across more than 100 missions.
  • Achieved program kick-off for orbital fuel depot demonstration on Photon Platform. The LOXSAT-1 mission in partnership with Eta Space will demonstrate a cryogenic oxygen fluid management system on orbit sponsored by NASA’s Tipping Point Program.

Conference Call Information

Rocket Lab will host a conference call for investors at 1:30 p.m. PT (4:30 p.m. ET) today to discuss these business highlights and financial results, and to provide our outlook for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2021 and other updates. The Company has also posted an investor presentation dated November 15, 2021 containing more detailed financial results as of and for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 to the investor section of the Company’s website at: The live webcast and a replay of the webcast will be available on Rocket Lab’s Investor Relations website:

About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, spacecraft components, satellites and other spacecraft and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle and the Photon satellite platform and is developing the Neutron 8-ton payload class launch vehicle. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 105 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand, one of which is currently operational, and a second launch site in Virginia, USA which is expected to become operational by the end of 2021. To learn more, visit