Rocket Lab to acquire space hardware company Planetary Systems Corporation

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Rocket Lab to acquire space hardware company Planetary Systems Corporation

Rocket Lab USA, a global leader in launch services and space systems, reports it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Planetary Systems Corporation (PSC), a Maryland-based spacecraft separation systems company, for $42 million in cash and 1,720,841 shares of the Company’s common stock, plus the potential for an additional 956,023 shares of common stock for a performance earnout based on PSC’s CY 2022 and 2023 financial results. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

PSC is a leading provider of mechanical separation systems and satellite dispensers with 100% mission success heritage to date across more than 100 missions.

The acquisition will enable Rocket Lab to leverage PSC’s strong brand and quality product offering of lightweight, cost-effective, and flight proven hardware across its vertically integrated Space Systems division of Photon satellite buses and spacecraft components solutions. The deal also enables PSC to make use of Rocket Lab’s resources and manufacturing capability to grow their already-strong commercial hardware trade.

PSC is the latest addition to the Space Systems portfolio after recent acquisitions of Advanced Solutions, Inc (ASI) in October 2021 and Sinclair Interplanetary in April 2020, and further strengthens Rocket Lab’s end-to-end space offering across the full launch and satellite spectrum.

For more than 20 years, PSC’s separation systems used to separate satellites from rockets have enabled customers to lower their mission costs and streamline payload integration time from days to just minutes. Its Canisterized Satellite Dispenser (CSD) is a reliable and cost-effective housing for small satellites that protects a spacecraft during launch before deploying them in space.

Fully encapsulated, the CSD minimizes damage risk and eliminates the necessity for heavy or complicated interface structures between satellites and the launch vehicle.

Together, PSC’s products have been integrated across the gamut of today’s operational launch vehicles from American launch providers including Rocket Lab, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, Northrop Grumman, and more; NASA Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions; and international launch vehicles operated by Arianespace, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and others.

PSC’s Lightbands and CSDs expands Rocket Lab’s space hardware offering that includes its Maxwell satellite dispenser, the in-house developed carbon-fibre dispenser that is the industry’s lightest CubeSat dispenser in its class.

By combining Rocket Lab and PSC’s expertise, Rocket Lab will continue to offer Maxwells as part of its end-to-end mission package across ground, satellite design and build, flight software and GNC, and launch, as well as expand the company’s in-house merchant space hardware repertoire. PSC will also continue to serve their existing customers and engage their local and national vendors while utilizing Rocket Lab’s expertise, resources, and technology to grow and develop their products and services.

PSC’s team of 25 people will continue to be led by the company’s President and CEO Mike Whalen in Maryland, with founder Walter Holemans also remaining in his role of Chief Engineer.

“Having integrated several of PSC’s industry-leading products across our own Electron launches, we’ve seen up close the incredible attention to detail and impeccable craftsmanship that sets them apart as industry leaders in launch vehicle and spacecraft separation systems,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

“Like Rocket Lab, PSC has a dedication to producing the best products and services that lower costs without compromising on quality and reliability. By combining our engineering expertise and capabilities, Rocket Lab and PSC will continue to pioneer the industry with trusted, mission-critical hardware and services that are cost-effective and streamline access to space.”

“PSC started 23 years ago as a one-person company in the living room of a row house in Washington, DC,” said Walter Holemans, PSC founder and Chief Engineer. “Thanks to a super talented team and a lot of hard work, we accomplished our mission of delivering high value technologies to our customers. Now, we are delighted to be joining the team at Rocket Lab to deliver the next evolution in space systems.”

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