WASHINGTON — A growing realization of the need for a medium-class launch vehicle led Rocket Lab to speed up its plans to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Rocket Lab announced March 1 it would merge with Vector Acquisition Corporation, a SPAC established by venture fund Vector Capital. The deal, expected to close in the second quarter of 2020, will provide Rocket Lab with $745 million in cash from the SPAC and a concurrent funding round, valuing the launch and space systems company at $4.1 billion.
In an interview, Peter Beck, the founder and chief executive of Rocket Lab, said the company has been moving “at a genteel speed” for some time toward a more traditional initial public offering (IPO) of stock. What changed the company’s plans was an analysis that the market needed a larger vehicle than its existing Electron rocket.
“It became very clear to us that what the industry needs right now is the right-sized medium-class vehicle for delivering megaconstellations,” he said. “The majority of the spacecraft in the future are in megaconstellations.”
Rocket Lab settled on a vehicle called Neutron, capable of placing up to 8,000 kilograms into low Earth orbit, which ...