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Rocket Lab Signs Preliminary Terms to Receive up to $23.9M in Funding Under the CHIPS Act to Expand Production of Semiconductors that Power Spacecraft

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Rocket Lab announced the signing of a preliminary memorandum of terms with the Department of Commerce to receive up to $23.9M under the CHIPS Act. This funding will expand Rocket Lab's semiconductor production for spacecraft at its New Mexico facility, creating over 100 jobs. The company, which acquired SolAero Technologies in 2022, is one of two U.S. producers of space-grade solar cells. These cells power critical space missions like NASA’s Artemis and the James Webb Space Telescope. The expansion aims to boost production by 50% in three years, meeting growing demand for national security and commercial satellites. New Mexico will also provide $25.5M in additional support. This move is part of a broader U.S. effort to bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

Positive
  • Rocket Lab to receive up to $23.9M in funding under the CHIPS Act.
  • Expansion will create over 100 direct manufacturing jobs in New Mexico.
  • Production of space-grade solar cells to increase by 50% within three years.
  • Additional $25.5M support from the State of New Mexico.
  • Strengthens U.S. supply chain for critical semiconductors.
  • Key technology for national defense and security satellites.
  • Supports booming commercial satellite market.
Negative
  • Funding is based on a non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms.
  • Actual award amounts and terms are subject to due diligence and negotiation.
  • Conditional on the achievement of certain milestones.

The proposed funding of up to $23.9M under the CHIPS Act for Rocket Lab to expand semiconductor production is a notable development. This investment is expected to increase Rocket Lab's compound semiconductor production by 50% within the next three years, which could significantly enhance the company's revenue streams.

From a financial perspective, this expansion is likely to lead to additional revenue from both government and commercial space programs. Increased production capacity means Rocket Lab can fulfill more orders and potentially negotiate larger contracts. Furthermore, the creation of over 100 direct manufacturing jobs can reduce unemployment levels in Albuquerque, thereby improving the local economy and potentially leading to more robust community support and investment in Rocket Lab's technologies.

This funding aligns with Rocket Lab's strategic goals to solidify its position in the space technology sector and its impact on the stock could be positive in the short term due to the anticipation of revenue growth and improved operational capacity. However, investors should also consider the costs associated with the expansion and modernization efforts to ensure that the return on investment justifies the outlay. The mention of additional state financial assistance worth $25.5 million further strengthens Rocket Lab's financial position.

Overall, for investors, this funding can be seen as a positive indicator for Rocket Lab's future earnings potential and market standing.

The semiconductor market, particularly for space applications, is becoming increasingly critical due to growing demand for national security systems and commercial satellite constellations. Rocket Lab's receipt of funding under the CHIPS Act aligns with the broader industry trend of reshoring semiconductor manufacturing to the U.S. to reduce dependency on foreign production, which is a strategic move given the current geopolitical climate.

This investment will likely support Rocket Lab in meeting the rising demand for space-grade solar cells, which are essential for a variety of advanced space missions including defense and commercial ventures like the OneWeb broadband internet satellite constellation. By increasing its production capacity, Rocket Lab can cater to this booming market more effectively, potentially gaining a significant competitive edge over its limited number of competitors outside Russia and China.

Additionally, the move towards modernizing and expanding facilities in Albuquerque not only fortifies Rocket Lab's production capabilities but also emphasizes the company's commitment to enhancing U.S. supply chain resilience, which is a key concern for many stakeholders.

In summary, this funding is likely to bolster Rocket Lab's market position and competitiveness significantly.

From a technological standpoint, expanding the production of compound semiconductors, particularly space-grade solar cells, is a significant move for Rocket Lab. Space-grade solar cells are highly efficient and radiation-resistant, which are vital for sustaining long-term space missions and ensuring the functionality of critical space assets such as the James Webb Space Telescope and NASA's Artemis lunar explorations.

This expansion not only enhances Rocket Lab's technological capabilities but also places the company in a stronger position within the niche market of space-grade semiconductors. The increased production capacity can lead to advancements in their existing technologies and potentially foster innovations that could set new industry standards.

Moreover, having a robust domestic manufacturing setup for these components mitigates risks associated with international supply chain disruptions. These technological advancements contribute to national security by ensuring that the U.S. has reliable access to high-performance components for its defense and space exploration programs.

In essence, this initiative not only scales Rocket Lab's production but also solidifies its technological edge in the space sector.

The proposed investment would enable Rocket Lab to further expand in New Mexico, creating more jobs and increased manufacturing capacity of space-grade solar cells which are important components for national defense and security satellites

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced the signing of a non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT) with the Department of Commerce that would see Rocket Lab receive up to $23.9M in direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act. The proposed investment would enable Rocket Lab to increase its production of compound semiconductors for spacecraft and satellites, as part of an expansion and modernization of the Company’s facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This proposed CHIPS investment would create more than 100 direct manufacturing jobs.

Rocket Lab Signs Preliminary Terms to Receive up to <money>$23.9M</money> in Funding Under the CHIPS Act to Expand Production of Semiconductors that Power Spacecraft (Photo: Business Wire)

Rocket Lab Signs Preliminary Terms to Receive up to $23.9M in Funding Under the CHIPS Act to Expand Production of Semiconductors that Power Spacecraft (Photo: Business Wire)

Rocket Lab acquired SolAero Technologies Inc in 2022, making Rocket Lab one of only two companies domestically, and three companies outside of Russia and China, that specializes in the production of highly efficient and radiation resistant compound semiconductors called space-grade solar cells—devices used in space to convert light to electricity. The space-grade solar cells produced at Rocket Lab’s Albuquerque, New Mexico facility power critical space programs such as missile awareness systems and exploratory science missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s Artemis lunar explorations, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, and the Mars Insight Lander. Rocket Lab's technology also serves a booming commercial satellite market, such as powering the OneWeb broadband internet satellite constellation.

This proposed CHIPS investment would help create a more robust and resilient supply of space-grade solar cells. The modernization and expansion project would also increase Rocket Lab’s compound semiconductor production by 50% within the next three years—helping to domestically meet the growing national security and consumer demand for these solar cells.

In addition to these proposed federal incentives, the State of New Mexico has also committed to providing financial assistance and incentives with a total value of $25.5 million to Rocket Lab in support of this effort.

"Semiconductors are central to modern life, to our economy, and to America's future. We are proud to be strengthening that future with the support of the CHIPS Office by expanding our production facilities to meet growing demand for the semiconductors that power the nation's most critical science, defense and commercial space missions," said Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Sir Peter Beck. "For more than two decades the SolAero team, now part of Rocket Lab, has played a crucial role in the domestic production of semiconductors. This program is a continuation of our commitment to ensuring resilient U.S. supply chains and creating highly productive local jobs."

“Rocket Lab has called New Mexico home for 25 years, first as SolAero Technologies and now as a thriving modern company manufacturing space solar-cell technology,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “New Mexico’s space economy is growing every day, and Rocket Lab’s expansion will bring more than 100 new jobs to New Mexico. This is just the latest example of how the CHIPS and Science Act is fueling new technology and high-wage jobs.”

“This major investment from our CHIPS and Science Act will further solidify New Mexico’s role as a leader in advanced manufacturing and create more than an estimated 100 manufacturing jobs. It will also further cement our state as the best place in America to manufacture novel technologies with emerging space defense applications,” said Senator Heinrich, a member of the 2022 Chips and Science Act Conference Committee. “For years now, I’ve been proud to bolster New Mexico’s bases, defense research labs, and private industry partners so we can keep excelling in emerging defense fields. That includes supporting the growth of SolAero, now Rocket Lab—a homegrown New Mexico defense technology company that has become an industry leader in manufacturing solar cells for space-based defense systems and commercial satellites. This exciting investment is just the latest downpayment to maintain New Mexico’s longtime leadership in national security and innovation.”

“I am so excited that SolAero will get almost $24 million to expand and modernize their facilities right in the heart of New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District,” said Rep. Melanie Stansbury. “Thanks to the Biden Administration and the CHIPS and Science Act, more than 100 new manufacturing jobs will be created, and New Mexico will continue leading the way in technological manufacturing. The future is bright!”

“These 100-plus good-paying jobs will support hard-working New Mexicans, while strengthening our national security through domestic semiconductor manufacturing,” said Rep. Gabe Vasquez. “This funding for Rocket Lab will help ensure that vital semiconductors are made in America and solidify New Mexico's role as a leader in space technology. Recognizing New Mexico’s robust workforce and investment potential is crucial, and I will always work to bring good-paying jobs to our state.”

“Not only will this $23.9M investment help strengthen our national security and increase the amount of advanced semiconductor manufacturing in the United States, it will create more than 100 good paying jobs for New Mexicans,” said Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández. “With this funding, our satellites won’t be dependent on foreign sources for solar power, and instead use American-manufactured solar cells made from compound semiconductors. Manufacturing is growing in New Mexico and this is exactly the kind of growth we had in mind when we passed the CHIPS and Science Act.”

Rocket Lab has indicated that it plans to claim the Department of the Treasury’s Investment Tax Credit, which is expected to be up to 25% of qualified capital expenditures. As explained in its first Notice of Funding Opportunity, the Department may offer applicants a PMT on a non-binding basis after satisfactory completion of the merit review of a full application. The PMT outlines key terms for a potential CHIPS incentives award, including the amount and form of the award. The award amounts are subject to due diligence and negotiation of award documents and are conditional on the achievement of certain milestones. After the PMT is signed, the Department begins a comprehensive due diligence process on the proposed projects and continues negotiating or refining certain terms with the applicant. The terms contained in any final award documents may differ from the terms of the PMT being announced today.

+ About CHIPS for America

CHIPS for America is part of President Biden’s economic plan to invest in America, stimulate private sector investment, create good-paying jobs, make more in the United States, and revitalize communities left behind. CHIPS for America includes the CHIPS Program Office, responsible for manufacturing incentives, and the CHIPS Research and Development Office, responsible for R&D programs, that both sit within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the Department of Commerce. NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST is uniquely positioned to successfully administer the CHIPS for America program because of the bureau’s strong relationships with U.S. industries, its deep understanding of the semiconductor ecosystem, and its reputation as fair and trusted. Visit https://www.chips.gov to learn more.

+ About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier, and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, a family of flight proven spacecraft, and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 180+ satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s family of spacecraft have been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch pad in Virginia. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.

+ Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). All statements contained in this press release other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding our launch and space systems operations, launch schedule and window, safe and repeatable access to space, Neutron development, operational expansion and business strategy are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “potential,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “plan,” “target,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, though not all forward-looking statements use these words or expressions. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the factors, risks and uncertainties included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the Investor Relations section of our website at www.rocketlabusa.com, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change.

+ Rocket Lab Media Contact

Morgan Connaughton

media@rocketlabusa.com

Source: Rocket Lab USA, Inc.

FAQ

What funding is Rocket Lab receiving under the CHIPS Act?

Rocket Lab is set to receive up to $23.9M in funding under the CHIPS Act.

How will the CHIPS Act funding affect Rocket Lab's semiconductor production?

The funding will enable Rocket Lab to expand its semiconductor production by 50% over the next three years.

What impact will the new funding have on job creation at Rocket Lab?

The new funding will create more than 100 manufacturing jobs in New Mexico.

What is the significance of Rocket Lab's space-grade solar cells?

Rocket Lab's space-grade solar cells power critical space missions, including NASA’s Artemis and the James Webb Space Telescope.

What additional support is Rocket Lab receiving from New Mexico?

In addition to the CHIPS Act funding, the State of New Mexico is providing $25.5M in financial assistance and incentives.

What are the conditions for Rocket Lab to receive the CHIPS Act funding?

The funding is based on a non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms and is subject to due diligence, negotiation, and milestone achievements.

What is Rocket Lab’s role in the U.S. semiconductor supply chain?

Rocket Lab plays a important role by producing space-grade solar cells, which are essential for national defense and security satellites.

Rocket Lab USA, Inc.

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we are rocket lab and we're opening access to space to improve life on earth. rocket lab is an orbital launch provider, delivering rapid and repeatable access to orbit for small satellites. our team designs, builds and launches the electron rocket – the world’s first fully carbon composite orbital launch vehicle, powered by 3d printed, electric pump fed engines on january 21 2018, rocket lab reached orbit with the launch of the electron vehicle and successfully deployed the company’s first commercial payloads. it marked a significant milestone in eliminating commercial barriers and ushering in a new era of unprecedented access to space. rocket lab is headquartered in huntington beach, california, with operations and a launch pad in new zealand. electron is launched from rocket lab launch complex 1, the world’s only private orbital launch range. located in mahia, new zealand, and licensed to launch every 72 hours, rocket lab can accommodate an unprecedented launch cadence and reach orbi