Rocket Lab Announces Merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation

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Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2 on Wallops Island. Rocket Lab photo.

By Carol Vaughn —

Rocket Lab announced Wednesday it completed a merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation to take the company public.
The combined company will be called Rocket Lab USA Inc. It started trading on Nasdaq Wednesday, with stock trading under the ticker symbol RKLB.
Vector shareholders approved the merger at an annual shareholder meeting Aug. 20.
Rocket Lab will receive around $777 million as result of the merger.
The money is expected to accelerate growth in the company’s space systems business, drive development of its Neutron rocket, and support future expansion, according to a press release.
“Our team is motivated by the enormous impact we can have on Earth by making it easier to get to space and to do incredible things there. We are excited to be making that a reality by embarking on our next chapter as a public company,” said Rocket Lab founder and Chief Executive Officer Peter Beck, in the release.
“With our Electron rocket and Photon spacecraft, we’ve simplified space, making it easy and affordable for companies, scientists, governments, and entrepreneurs alike to get their ideas to orbit. Today, we take the next step toward unlocking the full potential of space, paving the way for our larger Neutron launch vehicle which will deploy the constellations of the future, and supporting our potential future expansion into space applications. I am thrilled to declare space open for business, ” Beck said.
He will continue to lead the company.
“As a leader in democratizing access to space, Rocket Lab is well positioned to capitalize on exciting opportunities in commercial and government-sponsored space industry innovation,” said Alex Slusky, chief executive officer of Vector and founder and chief investment officer of Vector Capital. “We are confident in Rocket Lab’s ability to deliver outstanding performance and reliability to drive long-term value for shareholders.”
Slusky will join the board of directors of the combined company alongside current directors Sven Strohband of Khosla Ventures, David Cowan of Bessemer Venture Partners, Matt Ocko of DCVC, Mike Griffin, Merline Saintil, and Jon A. Olsen.
To celebrate the merger’s completion, Rocket Lab representatives rang the Nasdaq opening bell Wednesday morning.
Rocket Lab since its first launch in 2018 has delivered 105 satellites to orbit for more than 20 public and private-sector entitities. Its Electron rocket is the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually, according to the release.
Rocket Lab, based in New Zealand, officially opened the company’s first U.S. launch site at Wallops Island’s spaceport in December 2019.
Launch Complex 2 is designed to support “rapid call-up missions,” according to a release then, which said “the ability to deploy satellites to precise orbits in a matter of hours, not months or years, is increasingly important to ensure resilience in space.”
Accomack County officials in July approved conditional use permits and the rezoning of property on Wallops Island Road, adjacent to the spaceport location, clearing the way for a planned rocket production and testing facility there.
The rezoning and permits “are critical pieces to put (the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, also called Virginia Space) in a competitive position to recruit and attract Rocket Lab’s manufacturing component to Accomack County and the Commonwealth,” according to a memorandum included in the board of supervisors meeting packet.
Virginia Space is working with Rocket Lab to support the company’s Neutron rocket, which will be 148 feet tall and around 16 feet in diameter — much larger than the company’s Electron rocket.
The company previously announced both rockets will launch from Wallops Island’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
The building on the Wallops Island Road property would be for production of the Neutron, according to the memo, which went on to say, “Buildings and facilities are needed at the Wallops Island Road site, even if the manufacturing of the Neutron rocket does not occur on (the) property.”
Additionally, a building was constructed in Wallops Research Park recently to support Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket.

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