Great things are happening in Huntington Beach!
Rocket Lab Poised for Breakthrough ’19, Report Says
Rocket Lab launched its first satellite this year, in what’s shaping up to be an eventful 2019 for the Huntington Beach-based aerospace manufacturer and small-satellite or “smallsat” launcher.
The company on March 28 sent a 345-pound satellite into orbit for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, popularly known as DARPA, which is particularly involved in innovation and emerging technologies via military R&D projects.
The launch is the first of a dozen Rocket Lab efforts planned this year.
To handle the workload, the startup aerospace manufacturer is producing one Electron launch vehicle every 30 days at its Huntington Beach and Auckland, New Zealand, plants.
The payload, sent on an Electron rocket from its New Zealand launch complex, is a prototype antenna that improves radio communications in small spacecraft.
The antenna is made of tissue-thin Kapton film, and was packed inside a smallsat during launch.
It was deployed to its full size of about 7 feet in diameter when it reached low Earth orbit, roughly 1,200 miles above ground.
The mission could one day help revolutionize global communications by providing a foundation for internet connectivity in space, according to Rocket Lab. Its DARPA deal is valued at $6.5 million, according to a summary of the contract from the Federal Government.
The late March mission took place about 18 months after its conception, a significantly shorter timeframe than traditional government launches, which typically take years.
The DARPA launch was Rocket Lab’s fourth to orbit and its 25th satellite catapulted in space.
Wall Street Watch
The Surf City company’s activities are catching the eye of Wall Street.
Five days after the launch, Rocket Lab was named front-runner in the emerging market of small, privately built satellites, or satlets, according to an investor note from New York investment bank Morgan Stanley.
Analyst Adam Jonas wrote that Rocket Lab is among “the best positioned to take advantage of the smaller private satellite launch market,” citing convenience, low cost and a sustainable business model.
It is one of more than 110 companies globally in the emerging segment, according to the report.
Last year, Rocket Lab raised $140 million in a Series E funding round, led by Australia-based Sovereign Wealth Fund, also known as Future Fund.
The funding round, which included Khosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners, pushed its valuation past $1 billion.
It has raised $288 million to date.
In addition to New Zealand, where the company got its start, Rocket Lab plans to launch rockets from a NASA facility on the eastern shore of Virginia. Its goal is to eventually produce and launch one of its Electron rockets every week.
Read the full story at: https://www.ocbj.com/news/2019/apr/15/rocket-lab-poised-breakthrough-19-report-says/?page=2