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Rocket Lab will go public via a SPAC merger and will build a medium-lift rocket

Rocket Lab, a firm that manufactures launch vehicles as well as small satellites, is integrating with a very special-purpose acquisition firm (SPAC) to help finance the production of a broader launch vehicle as part of the new round of public-market space transactions. Rocket Lab will merge with Vector Acquisition Company, a SPAC formed last year by venture capital firm Vector Capital, on March 1. Rocket Lab will be listed on the Nasdaq exchange underneath the ticker symbol RKLB after the transaction closes in the second quarter.

Rocket Lab will gain a maximum of $320 million from the Vector Acquisition as a result of the merger. A $470 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) fund led by BlackRock, Vector Capital, and Neuberger Berman will also be completed concurrently. Rocket Lab will be priced at $4.1 billion as a result of the acquisition. In a release revealing the merger, Peter Beck, Chief executive officer and founder of Rocket Lab, stated, “This landmark speed up Rocket Lab’s capacity to unleash the maximum capabilities of space via our launch and spacecraft technologies and catalyzes our vision to build a new multi-billion-dollar market vertical in the space applications.”

In a quote, Vector CEO Alex Slusky stated, “Rocket Lab is a once-in-a-generation business that is decentralizing accessibility to space via relentless creativity, leading technology, as well as proven execution.” Slusky would join the Rocket Lab board of directors after the merger is completed. “Rocket Lab is in an excellent position to retain market share in the fast-growing space launch, systems, as well as applications markets.”

The Electron small launch vehicle, which has been deployed 18 times since the year 2017, is Rocket Lab’s most well-known product. The firm is also designing Photon, a smallsat bus that will launch alongside Electron. It deployed the first Photon satellite in the month of August and planned to deploy the second in mid-March with the upcoming Electron launch.

Rocket Lab has previously raised $288 million in a variety of venture funding, the most recent of which was $140 million in the Series E round in November 2018 that estimated the company at over $1 billion. That round, according to Beck, is “a huge keg of dry powder” that will enable it to weather disturbances like the pandemic while also supporting new efforts like the Photon satellite bus as well as an ongoing attempt to recycle the Electron’s first stage.

Another new project would be possible thanks to the funding given by the SPAC merger. Rocket Lab has announced that it is designing Neutron, a launch vehicle which is of medium-class; capable of launching a maximum of 8,000 kg into the low Earth orbit, which is over 20 times the strength of Electron.

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