The earliest memory of Peter Beck stands with his father in Invercargill, New Zealand. “For three or four years old, it was a touching subject that stuck in my memory and I have had the good fortune to work in the aerospace industry ever since,” he said at the Space Generation Fusion Forum (SGFF).
Of course, Insight 20/20, but it is true that Beck’s career has been characterized by an unusually single attitude in rocket making. Instead of going to university, Beck got a commercial job, working as a toolmaker during the day and as a rocket engine maker at night.
His flashes mature with experience and double the time pay: in 2006, he founded his space launch company Rocket Lab. Now, after 15 years and 21 launches, the company has moved to the public by merging with a blank-check firm that has added $777 million to its war chest. Combined with the acquisition of Vector, the value of the Rocket Lab has reached $4.8 billion, leaving only Elon Musk’s SpaceX second (by value) among the space launch companies.
SPACs have become a popular route to reach the public among aerospace companies seeking to secure large amounts of capital; Rival satellite launch startups Virgin Orbit and Astra each started a business through a SPAC integration, along with other sectors such as Redwire, Planet, and Satellogic (just to name a few). Beck told TechCrunch that going public is part of the Rocket Lab’s plan for many years; the original plan was to use a traditional theological initial public offer, but specifically ensured the SPAC route around capital and valuation.
The future is bright: Rocket Lab expects revenue of $749 million in 2025 and surpasses $1 billion the following year, according to an investor presentation in advance of SPAC consolidation – documents that should always be taken with a large grain. The company earned $48 million in 2019 and $33 million in 2020 and expects to earn about $69 million this year.
Although the aerospace industry is now relatively crowded, companies like Rocket Labs and SpaceX are sending payloads into orbit and countless new entrants want to join them (or, more hopefully, take their lead), Beck said he expects crowds to decrease. “It’s becoming very clear to investors very quickly, who is performing, and who is interested in implementing,” he said.