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Performance during supply chain disruptions

Virgin Orbit’s modified 747 jet “Cosmic Girl” releases the company’s LauncherOne rocket for a mission on January 13, 2022.

Virgin Orbit

Space companies reported results for the first quarter of the year over the past several weeks – with many CEOs complaining of supply chain disruptions pushing back hardware deliveries and launch schedules.

“Everyone’s getting delayed. I haven’t heard from a single satellite operator in the last 12 months – whether they’re a new entrant, whether they’re longstanding operators – everyone’s kind of getting moved to the right a little bit, mostly for the same reasons … the supply chain issues and whatnot,” Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg said during his company’s earnings conference call.

Many space companies went public last year through SPAC deals, but most of the stocks are struggling despite the industry’s growth. The shifting market environment, with climbing interest rates hitting technology and growth stocks hard, have weighed on space stocks. Shares of about a dozen space companies are off 50% or more since their market debut.

Beyond supply chain hiccups, most of the public companies reported continued quarterly losses, as profitability remains a year away or more for many space ventures.

Below are summaries of the most recent quarterly reports for Aerojet Rocketdyne, AST SpaceMobile, Astra, BlackSky, Iridium, Maxar, Momentus, Mynaric, Redwire, Rocket Lab, Satellogic, Spire Global, Telesat, Terran Orbital, ViaSat, Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit – alongside the stock’s year-to-date performance as of Thursday’s close.

Satellite imagery company Planet has yet to report its first quarter results. The company uses a 2023 fiscal year calendar that began on Feb. 1.

Aerojet Rocketdyne: -12%

While the propulsion specialist draws a majority of its $511 million in first quarter sales from defense-related contracts, Aerojet Rocketdyne continues to draw a major portion of revenue from the space sector. The company’s adjusted EBITDA profit for the quarter rose 18% to $69 million, compared to the same period a year prior, with a backlog of $6.4 billion in multi-year contracts. Aerojet Rocketdyne remains embroiled in a board proxy fight between CEO Eileen Drake and Executive Chairman Warren Lichtenstein, which began during the now terminated Lockheed Martin deal.

AST SpaceMobile: -5%

Astra: -66%

BlackSky: -46%

Seattle-based satellite imagery specialist BlackSky reported first quarter revenue of $13.9 million with an adjusted EBITDA loss of $9.5 million, up 91% and 53% from the same period a year prior, respectively. BlackSky has $138 million in cash. CEO Brian O’Toole emphasized the company sees increasing demand for Earth imagery from both the U.S. and foreign governments, with BlackSky stating it “believes capacity” from the current 14 satellites it has in orbit “will be more than sufficient to support increased customer demand.”

Iridium: -11%

The satellite communications provider delivered revenue of $168.2 million, an operational EBITDA profit of $103.2 million, and 1.8 million total subscribers in the first quarter – up 15%, 17%, and 15%, respectively, from a year prior. Iridium CEO Matt Desch noted the company’s supply chain team is managing issues and “we seem to be doing as well as anyone in getting the parts we need,” but said the “problem is that demand continues to exceed forecasts.” Iridium has “tremendous demand” from Ukraine, Desch said, with the company shipping thousands of devices to provide services such as mobile phones to Internet-of-Things connectivity.

Maxar: 1%

The satellite imagery and space infrastructure company reported $405 million in first quarter revenue, up slightly from a year prior, with an adjusted EBITDA profit of $84 million, a 25% increase. Maxar’s order backlog fell 14% from the fourth quarter to $1.6 billion. CEO Dan Jablonsky said during the company’s call that its long-awaited first WorldView Legion satellite launch is delaying to September due to an issue during testing. Jablonsky added that he is “disappointed that we’ve had another delay” with Maxar’s timeline for getting its WorldView Legion satellites in orbit. It has “been hit with supply chain and COVID-related issues over the past couple of years.”

Momentus: -31%

The spacecraft maker reported no revenue in the first quarter, and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $17.2 million – up from a loss of $13.2 million a year prior. Momentus spent the quarter preparing to launch its Vigoride spacecraft this month to demonstrate its capabilities, and signed agreements to fly on future SpaceX rideshare launches. The company has $136 million in cash on hand.

Mynaric: -33%

Redwire: -40%

Rocket Lab: -62%

Satellogic: -51%

Spire Global: -56%

Telesat: -42%

Terran Orbital: -50%

The spacecraft manufacturer reported first quarter revenue of $13.1 million, up 25% from a year prior, with a $222 million backlog – in part thanks to a contract to build satellites for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency. Terran Orbital saw an adjusted EBITDA loss of $14.7 million, quadruple its loss in first quarter 2021. It has $77 million in cash. Terran co-founder and CEO Marc Bell highlighted supply chain disruptions on the call, but emphasized that the company is increasingly vertically integrating its manufacturing.

ViaSat: -18%

The satellite broadband provider is on a different reporting cycle than the calendar year, with the company having reported fourth quarter results Wednesday. Viasat brought in $702 million of fourth quarter revenue, up 18% from the period a year ago, and an adjusted EBITDA of $134 million, down 9%. The company has nearly $1 billion in liquidity, largely through debt. In a letter to shareholders, Viasat noted the end of its fiscal year “had some challenges” due to regulatory delays, as well as increased R&D spending “on attractive growth opportunities.”

Virgin Galactic: -50%

The space tourism company reported negligible revenue for the first quarter, and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $77 million – 38% higher than the same period a year ago. The company has $1.22 billion in cash on hand. Although its current spacecraft and carrier aircraft refurbishment program is “progressing well” and expected to be finished in September, Virgin Galactic announced the delay of launching its commercial tourism service to the first quarter of 2023. Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said the delay in commercial service was due to “little issues” that pushed the company’s refurbishment schedule back. He added that, “like many companies around the world, we’re experiencing elevated levels of supply chain disruption.”

Virgin Orbit: -40%