Rocket Lab Reveals Big Deal With Mysterious Mega Constellation Client
Rocket Lab has proven that it’s more than a launch company. A look at the company’s latest earnings presentation shows it: its space systems business, which designs, manufactures and sells satellite components and spacecraft, generated more than 70% of the company’s revenue. company from the 2022 launch, at $150.3 million versus $60.7 million, respectively.
The space systems business – whose products include star trackers, reaction wheels, solar power systems, separation systems and more – also saw massive revenue growth, increasing by 239 % year over year. To meet this growing demand, the company further announced last year that it was developing new manufacturing capabilities, including for reaction wheels.
The investment is paying off: it looks like Rocket Lab has landed a contract to supply reaction wheels to an unnamed mega constellation customer. The company said so in a February press release announcing a new 12Nms reaction wheel product, saying the wheel is “currently slated for flight with an undisclosed large mega constellation customer.”
More recently, Rocket Lab CFO Adam Spice added more color to this statement, revealing that the deal is worth “thousands” of Reaction Wheels per year.
“We have a deal with a mega constellation where there are thousands of reaction wheels a year and much larger reaction wheels,” Spice said at the 44th Annual Cowen Aerospace/Defense Conference. and industry in February. “What it has allowed us to do is build a dedicated high-volume production facility in New Zealand and we have reduced the cost by almost an order of magnitude on these wheels.”
At a Bank of America event on Tuesday, Spice reiterated the enormity of the deal: “We’ve secured a contract with a mega constellation customer where we’ll ship two or three thousand reaction wheels a year to a customer.”
While the company hasn’t publicly disclosed the name of this client — and declined to comment on the matter to TechCrunch, citing commercial sensitivity — there are only a handful of known possibilities. Amazon’s Kuiper project is a likely candidate, and OneWeb’s growing network could conceivably be another. However, SpaceX has demonstrated that it wants to stay in-house as much as possible for its production stack, so Starlink is not likely.
In its spec sheet for the 12 Nms reaction wheel, Rocket Lab lists the base price at $100,000. Of course, on contracts of this size, the unit price is often discounted (which Spice acknowledged, stating at the Cowen conference that the ASP for mega constellation reaction wheels “has gone down a lot”), but this suggests a big win for Rocket Lab’s revenue and a possible source for the company’s backlog doubling last year: from $241 million at the end of 2021 to $503 million.
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