Rocket Lab’s (NASDAQ: RKLB) Q2 results are out, and the company is looking good following a positive quarter.
The company had 100% mission success with three launches in Q2, including a new type, the suborbital HASTE Electron variant.
While the stock market may not react immediately, Rocket Lab is set for a strong 3rd quarter. The company has signed ten new launches, including 9 Electron launches and 1 HASTE launch. The launches come from returning customers, Black Sky Inc. with 5, Synspective with 2, 1 unconfirmed customer, and one government customer. The HASTE launch is also from an unknown customer.
As for Electron’s future reusability prospects, the company is planning on flying the first flight-proven engine on an Electron launch later this year and the first full booster re-flight in 2024. The most recent Electron that was recovered showed positive results in new waterproofing methods and was recovered from the ocean using a new hoisting method, expediting the process.
Founder and CEO Peter Beck also provided new information regarding Neutron, the company’s new medium-lift rocket currently in the design and testing phases.
As we reported not too long ago, the Neutron design has been slightly modified, Beck mentioned they made the changes a few months ago based on customer feedback and through their testing analysis program. The landing legs are now optimized for barge landings, and the fairing section is being changed from 4 segments to 2 to allow for simpler mechanisms.
The company has completed the stage 2 carbon composite qualification tank, with testing expected to begin in Q3, and completed the cryogenic tank test stand. The company has begun the Earthworks for Launch Complex 3 and is grading the launch pad area ahead of construction.
The engine that will power Neutron, the liquid methane and liquid oxygen-fueled Archimedes engine, has had its first full-scale thrust chamber completed using additive manufacturing. Pre-burner tests have been successful thus far and continue in association with Purdue University. Teams are also conducting simulations with the avionics hardware.
Coming up in Q3, the company looks to begin the test campaign for Archimedes, have the Stage 1 qualification infrastructure completed, and the Stage 2 structural and cryogenic test campaign.
The company also acquired the former Virgin Orbit headquarters and production facility in Long Beach, California. The production site is 144,000 square feet and was acquired for $16.1 million following the Virgin Orbit bankruptcy sale. The company will produce both Electron and Neutron rockets at the facility.
Qualification testing is now underway on their twin Mars spacecraft. The ESCAPADE mission will study Mars’ magnetosphere and is due for launch in late 2024 on a Blue Origin New Glenn rocket. The spacecraft is based on the company’s Photon satellite.
Disclosure: Richard Angle is not an RKLB shareholder.
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