Space companies put up a mixed second quarter. Here’s who outperformed and who faltered

Business

The company’s Electron rocket carrying the CAPSTONE mission lifts off from New Zealand on June 28, 2022.
Rocket Lab

The second quarter was a mixed bag for space companies, with some firms posting steady progress while others faced setbacks.

Most space stocks, many of which went public last year through SPAC deals, are struggling despite the industry’s growth, off 50% or more since their market debut. The shifting market environment and climbing interest rates have hit technology and growth stocks hard, weighing on space stocks.

CNBC breaks down the most recent quarterly reports for Aerojet RocketdyneAST SpaceMobileAstraBlackSkyIridiumMaxarMomentusMynaricRedwireRocket LabSatellogicSpire GlobalTelesatTerran OrbitalViaSatVirgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.

Satellite imagery company Planet has yet to report its latest quarterly results, as the company follows a fiscal year calendar that began on Feb. 1.

Aerojet Rocketdyne

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -3%

Aerojet Rocketdyne continues to draw a major portion of revenue from the space sector. The propulsion specialist takes a majority of its $528.5 million in second-quarter sales from defense-related contracts. Notably, president and CEO Eileen Drake confirmed that Aerojet’s backlog added a United Launch Alliance contract for 116 of the RL10 engines needed to power the Vulcan rocket series, many of which Amazon ordered.

AST SpaceMobile

Stock’s year-to-date performance: +36%

The satellite-to-smartphone broadband company reported revenue of $7.3 million and total operating expenses of $35.4 million, both metrics slightly higher than the same period a year earlier. The company has $202.4 million in cash, as AST continues to work toward the launch of its Blue Walker 3 test satellite in September. It’s spent $86.6 million on the demonstration to date.

Astra

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -88%

Small rocket and spacecraft builder Astra reported another heavy quarterly loss, taking an adjusted EBITDA hit of $48.4 million. The company brought in just $2.7 million in revenue and announced the surprise cancellation of its Rocket 3.3 series along with a launch pause until at least 2023 as it pivots to developing the larger variation, Rocket 4.0. Astra has $200.7 million in cash on hand.

BlackSky

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -52%

Seattle-based satellite imagery specialist BlackSky reported revenue of $15.1 million for the quarter, nearly double what is posted a year ago, and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $8.8 million. The company landed a major win in the form of an NRO contract for its imagery, worth up to $1.02 billion over a decade.

Iridium

Stock’s year-to-date performance: +9%

The satellite communications provider delivered revenue of $174.9 million, an operational EBITDA profit of $105.9 million and just under 1.9 million total subscribers — up 17%, 12%, and 16%, respectively, from the same period a year prior. Iridium CEO Matt Desch emphasized on the call that the “business outperformed nicely,” with the company “positioned well to grow … even if recent concerns of an economic downturn come to fruition.” The company also won a significant award from the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency during the quarter, which Desch expects to add $133 million in revenue over seven years.

Maxar

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -20%

The satellite imagery and space infrastructure company reported revenue of $438 million, down slightly from the same period a year ago due to lower sales from its space infrastructure division, and adjusted EBITDA profit of $119 million. Maxar’s order backlog increased to $2.9 billion, and the company won a major part of the latest 10-year National Reconnaissance Office imagery contract, worth up to $3.2 billion.

Momentus

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -58%

The spacecraft maker brought in just $50,000 in revenue, due to a canceled customer contract, and reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $18.3 million. While Momentus has about $109 million in cash on hand, the company says it plans to reduce its quarterly cash burn by cutting some spending and delaying long-term R&D projects, as it focuses on resolving issues identified with its spacecraft during its latest mission.

Mynaric

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -41%

The laser communications maker has yet to begin reporting quarterly results, having gone public in November. During the second quarter, Mynaric announced an agreement with defense firm L3Harris, which will take a 7.2% stake in the company and invest about $11 million.

Redwire

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -54%

The space infrastructure conglomerate collected $36.7 million in revenue during the quarter, up 14% from a year prior, with an adjusted EBITDA loss of $4.1 million. Notably, Redwire “expects to achieve positive adjusted EBITDA in the second half of 2022,” even as it continues to invest in infrastructure expansions such as a newly opened robotic arm manufacturing facility in Luxembourg.

Rocket Lab

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -54%

The multinational small-rocket and spacecraft builder reported $55.5 million in revenue, up 36% from the previous quarter, largely from its space systems division. It also increased its total order backlog to $531.4 million. The company reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $8.5 million, but has over half a billion in cash on hand. Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said on the company’s earnings conference call that Rocket Lab continues “to see strong demand for Electron launches.”

Satellogic

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -53%

The satellite imagery company has yet to begin reporting quarterly results, having gone public in January. During the second quarter Satellogic debuted four additional satellites in orbit via a SpaceX launch, increasing its fleet to 26 so far. The company aims to have 34 in orbit by early 2023.

Spire Global

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -55%

Small satellite builder and data specialist Spire brought in $19.4 million in revenue during the second quarter and reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $7.3 million. For the full year 2022, the company expects that it will surpass $100 million in annual recurring revenue from subscribers.

Telesat

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -61%

The Canadian-based satellite communications operator reported revenue of about $143 million (converted at current rates from Canadian dollars), a slight decrease from the year before, with a contract backlog worth about $1.5 billion. Telesat posted an adjusted EBITDA profit of about $112 million. The company noted that, pending final manufacturer and financing agreements, capital expenditures “could increase substantially” to fund the development of its Lightspeed network.

Terran Orbital

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -59%

The spacecraft manufacturer recorded $21.4 million in revenue during the quarter and reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $14.8 million, while increasing its backlog to $224.1 million. Terran Orbital began delivering satellite buses, the main body of a spacecraft, to Lockheed Martin under a Pentagon contract, and supported the launch of NASA’s CAPSTONE spacecraft, which it helped build.

Viasat

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -16%

The satellite broadband provider, which is on a fiscal year calendar that starts in April, reported quarterly revenue of $678 million and an adjusted EBITDA profit of $132 million — the former a 2% year-over-year increase and the latter a 17% decrease. Viasat noted that it continues to see pressure on its finances from supply chain shortages and inflation. The company plans to launch its ViaSat-3 satellite late this year.

Virgin Galactic

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -55%

The space tourism company reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $93 million on negligible revenue. Virgin Galactic announced yet another delay to the start of commercial service, pushing it back to the second quarter of 2023 as the company continues to refurbish the carrier aircraft that begins its spaceflights. Virgin Galactic reported $1.1 billion in cash on hand and announced plans to sell up to $300 million in common stock.

Virgin Orbit

Stock’s year-to-date performance: -50%

The alternative rocket launcher did not report any revenue, but completed a launch the day after the second quarter ended and will recognize $12 million from that in the next period. Virgin Orbit recorded an adjusted EBITDA loss of $34.4 million and $122.1 million in cash on hand. The company expects to complete two more launches this year, making for four total in 2022.

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