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Space SPAC Index – Terran Orbital Sells Shares, Replaces CFO

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 20, 2023
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Space SPAC Index – Terran Orbital Sells Shares, Replaces CFO
Artist impression of a Terran Orbital satellite.

Welcome to S-SPACi!  In this edition, Terran Orbital shares sank after the company sold shares and replaced its CFO, Rocket Lab’s booster and stock both fell to Earth, AST SpaceMobile made a cosmic phone call, Spire Global won two contracts, customers for Virgin Galactic next flight revealed themselves, Satellogic and Skyloom announced a laser communications partnership, Momentus signed a contract to deliver a payload in orbit, and Planet Labs’ CEO acquired a big chunk of shares as a joint satellite project with NASA advanced.

Terran Orbital sells shares, appoints new CFO

Terran Orbital (NYSE: LLAP) shares fell 19.7 percent to $1.14 on Monday (September 18) after the company announced it was selling 23.2 million shares of common stock. The company expects to raise $32.5 million before fees and expenses are deducted to pay for corporate expenses.

The announcement came three days after the company revealed that Chief Financial Officer Gary Hobart would transition to a newly created senior executive position of Chief Transformation Officer (CTO). Terran Orbital appointed Mathieu Riffel, 38, as acting chief financial officer effective on September 15.

“Mr. Riffel has served as the Company’s Senior Vice President and Controller since September 1, 2023 and previously served as the Company’s Vice President and Controller from July 1, 2021 to August 31, 2023, during which he led the Company’s private-to-public accounting initiatives leading up to the Company’s merger with Tailwind Two Acquisition Corp.,” Terran Orbital said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

An Electron second stage Rutherford engine misfires during a failed launch on September 19, 2023.
An Electron second stage Rutherford engine misfires during a failed launch on September 19, 2023. Image credit: Rocket Lab.

Rocket Lab’s stock continues to fall

Rocket Lab’s (Nasdaq: RKLB) stock continued to fall following the failure of its Electron rocket to launch Capella Space’s Acadia 2 Earth observation satellite on Tuesday (September 19). Shares fell from $5.05 to a low of $4.22 on Tuesday before recovering to $4.62 in after-hours trading. Rocket Lab shares closed down more than 5 percent to close at $4.42 on Wednesday. Electron’s first stage performed as designed, but an anomaly in the second stage caused it to fall into the atmosphere and burn up. Video of the launch suggested the second stage engine failed to fire properly.

Space SPAC Index
September 20, 2023

CompanyFirst Trading DayOpening Share PriceHighClosing Price
Astra Space (Nasdaq: ASTR)July 1, 2021$12.30$16.95 (7/2/21)$2.14
AST SpaceMobile (Nasdaq: ASTS)April 7, 2021$11.63$15.48 (6/30/21)$1.59 (NYSE: BBAI)Dec. 8, 2021$9.84$16.12 (4/6/22)$4.04
BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY)Sept. 10, 2021$11.80$13.20 (9/16/21)$1.18
Intuitive Machines (Nasdaq: LUNR)Feb. 14, 2023$10.00$136.00 (2/20/23)$4.00
Momentus (Nasdaq: MNTS)Aug. 13, 2021$10.8512.87 (9/7/21)$2.67
Planet Labs (NYSE: PL)Dec. 8, 2021$11.25$11.65 (12/8/21)$2.70
Redwire (NYSE: RDW)Sept. 3, 2021$10.70$16.98 (10/25/21)$3.18
Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB)Aug. 25, 2021$11.58$21.34 (9/9/21) $4.42
Satellogic (Nasdaq: SATL)Jan. 26, 2022$9.19$10.92 (5/4/22) $1.52
SatixFy (NYSE AMERICAN: SATX)Oct. 28, 2022$8.29$51.70
Spire (NYSE: SPIR)Aug. 17, 2021$10.25 $19.50 (9/22/21)$5.12
Terran Orbital (NYSE: LLAP)March 28, 2022$12.69$12.69 (3/28/22) $1.14
Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE)Oct. 28, 2019$11.79$62.80 (2/4/21)$1.91
Stock Price Source: Google Finance.

AST SpaceMobile Achieves 5G Broadband Connectivity

AST SpaceMobile (Nasdaq: ASTS) announced it achieved the first-ever 5G satellite-to-cell phone connection for voice and data using an unmodified mobile phone and its BlueWalker 3 communications satellite. The call was made from Hawaii.

“The 5G call was placed on September 8, 2023, from an unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone located near Hana, HI, in a wireless dead zone,” the company said in a press release. “5G connectivity testing was completed with our partners Vodafone, AT&T and Nokia. In a separate test, the company broke its previous space-based cellular broadband data session record by achieving a download rate of approximately 14 Mbps.”

Spire wins 2 contracts, partners with ESA

Spire Global’s (NYSE: SPIR) U.S. subsidiary won a 12-month, $2.9 million contract from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under a pilot program to provide commercial data about ocean surface winds (OSW) that will be used to improve weather forecasting models.

“For this Pilot Study, NOAA will assess the quality and impact of available commercial global navigation satellite system reflectometry (GNSS-R) observations for the measurement of OSW and other characteristics. NOAA will use Pilot Study data to improve upon NOAA’s derived wind speed products and investigate the utility of derived wind speed products developed by commercial vendors,” the agency announced in a press release.

Spire Global won a separate contract to supply aviation insights to Estuaire, a data company that assists the aviation industry with reducing its environmental impact.

“Spire will provide its detailed aircraft positional data, as well as its Flight Report, which aggregates hundreds of millions of daily satellite and terrestrial ADS-B positions into an easily accessible one-row-per-flight information enriched with all the flight and aircraft data, for post-flight analytics and reporting needs,” Spire said in a press release.

Spire has partnered with the European Space Agency to develop a system named EURIALO that will improve the tracking of aircraft. EURIALO will rely on existing telecommunication signals that all planes emit to track aircraft locations. The system is designed to overcome the technical limitations of the ADS-B transponder beacons that aircraft use to broadcast their positions.

Col. Walter Villadei (center) holds up an Italian flag during the Galactic 01 research flight.
Col. Walter Villadei (center) holds up an Italian flag during the Galactic 01 research flight. Image credit: Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic’s next customers identified

Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) has scheduled its fourth commercial suborbital for October 5. Three customers have been publicly identified as being on the flight:

  • Trevor Beattie, a British advertising executive,
  • Ron Rosano, a space and astronomy education from the United States, and
  • Namira Saleem, a Pakistani polar adventurer and artist who founded Space Trust, a non-profit that promotes space as a frontier for peace.

Satellogic and Skyloom team for high-capacity data

Satellogic (Nasdaq: SATL) has signed an agreement to integrate Skyloom’s Optical Communications Terminal (OCT) on its satellites. Satellogic will use OCTs to test new methods for delivering Earth observation data through SkyCompass-1, the geostationary orbit-based network infrastructure that Skyloom developed with its partner, Space Compass. Satellogic will also use OCTs to directly download data to a gateway. The companies said the partnership will allow them to provide high-capacity data transmission with low latency.

Momentus to deliver student payload to orbit

Momentus (Nasdaq: MNTS) has signed a contract with Denmark’s Aarhus University to provide in-space transportation service for a satellite that will be launched in late 2024. The student-built DISCO-2 satellite will provide data for climate monitoring.

Planet Labs CEO acquires stock

Planet Labs CEO Will Marshall acquired 100,000 shares in the company at a price of $2.6984 each, according to a SEC filing. Marshall holds 1.4 million shares in Planet. The filing said 28,314 shares were disposed of at a price of $2.80 apiece in payment of the withholding tax liability incurred upon the vesting of restricted stock units.

Planet receives JPL imaging spectrometer

Planet Labs (NYSE: PL) has received an imaging spectrometer developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for integration onto the company’s Tanager 1 hyperspectral satellite. The instrument will be used to detect and quantify the sources of methane and carbon dioxide emissions. Tanager is scheduled for launch in 2024. Planet is building two Tanager satellites as part of the public-private Carbon Mapper Coalition partnership.

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