Spacecraft maker Terran Orbital LLAP begins trading on the NYSE

Spacecraft maker Terran Orbital began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday after its SPAC merger closed, going public with more than $200 million in orders pending.

Terran trades under the ticker symbol LLAP – a reference to the Star Trek saying “live long and prosper” – with shares previously listed under special-purpose acquisition firm Tailwind Two Acquisition Corp.

Terran shares were down around 13% in afternoon trading.

Terran joins a trend of space companies going public through SPAC deals, such as Virgin Galactic, Astra, Rocket Lab, Planet and more. But Terran co-founder and CEO Marc Bell told CNBC he thinks his company’s foundation sets it apart.

“We’re looking at a lot of these space SPACs that came out and a lot of them weren’t companies that should have gone public,” Bell said. “We, on the other hand, have real revenue, real pipeline, real backlog, real customers.”

The closing of its merger nets Terran gross proceeds of $255 million, including $29.4 million from Tailwind Two as well as a $50.8 million PIPE round – or private equity investment – ​​which included investors AE Industrial Partners, Beach Point Capital and Lockheed Martin. The remaining capital came from $175.3 million in debt financing through Francisco Partners, Beach Point Capital and Lockheed Martin.

“We’re using that money to grow — basically hiring and training new people and adding new facilities,” Bell said.

Terran had $25 million in revenue in 2020, which grew to over $40 million last year. The company has contracts to build dozens of satellites for customers including NASA and the Pentagon, with its backlog growing from $68 million last year to more than $200 million currently.

Based in Boca Raton, Fla., the company announced plans to expand its satellite manufacturing capacity by building a 660,000 square foot facility near Cape Canaveral and leasing a 60,000 square foot facility in Irvine, Florida. California. With more than 300 employees, the company relies on the consolidation of two former subsidiaries, the satellite manufacturer Tyvak and the imaging specialist PredaSAR.

“Our manufacturing business is unique because it is truly a recurring revenue business,” Bell said. “For the US government, it’s much cheaper for them to build a constellation of satellites and keep refreshing it, and keep refreshing it with current technology, and then build a ‘juicy target’ in space. “

Terran both builds spacecraft for other customers and works on its own system of 96 Earth imaging satellites, which Bell has described as “Earth Observation 3.0”. The satellites would combine two types of image-gathering technology, optical and synthetic aperture radar, Bell said, so Terran could “overlay the data” and provide deeper analysis to customers.

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