Rocket Lab inked a deal with Kinéis to deploy 25 satellites.

Rocket Lab inked a deal with Kinéis to deploy 25 satellites.

Rocket Lab USA Inc. is soaring on the public markets. The Long Beach-based aerospace company’s stock price shot up to nearly $16 in after-hours trading Sept. 8 following news of major revenue gains and a multilaunch contract with French startup satellite operator Kinéis.

In its first earnings disclosure since going public, Rocket Lab reported Sept. 8 that its revenue spiked 237% year over year in the first six months of 2021. The same day, it announced the Kinéis deal to deploy 25 satellites in 2023 using its Electron rocket.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it will add to Rocket Lab’s order backlog, which grew 136% to $141.4 million in the period ending June 30.

In that six-month period, the company reported total revenues of $29.5 million.

But its net loss increased by more than $9 million in that time, from around $23.5 million in the first six months of 2020 to $32.5 million in the first part of this year.

“In the first half of 2021, we continued our track record of consistent execution across launch and space systems, further establishing Rocket Lab as a new breed of end-to-end space company,” Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and chief executive, said in a statement.

In addition to making rockets and offering launch services, Rocket Lab designs, manufactures and sells satellite buses and spacecraft components.  

Under the Kinéis deal, Rocket Lab is set to deploy an entire constellation of satellites over five missions with the first launch scheduled for the second quarter of 2023. Kinéis is backed by French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales and its subsidiary, Collecte Localisation Satellites.

“It’s a very sophisticated customer, a very sophisticated spacecraft with really tough requirements. … Electron’s demonstrated orbital accuracy and insertion enables this constellation to be launched like this,” Beck told CNBC.

The new constellation will be part of an international scientific collaboration operated by Kinéis that includes CNES and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor wildlife and collect data about the Earth’s climate.

“We are glad to entrust our constellation of 25 satellites to Rocket Lab,” said Alexandre Tisserant, chief executive of Kinéis. “They are the leaders in small satellite launch and the obvious choice as launch partner to activate our constellation at such a pace.”

Rocket Lab also has upcoming launches scheduled for NASA and BlackSky Global, as well as an upcoming contract to manufacture three Photon satellite spacecraft for Varda Space Industries.

Rocket Lab made its stock market debut through a merger with blank-check company Vector Acquisition Corp. on Aug. 25, closing at $10.43.

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