Terran Orbital debuts on the New York Stock Exchange with $200 million in unfilled spaceship orders

Terran Orbital, a spacecraft manufacturer, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, following the completion of its SPAC merger, with over $200 million in outstanding orders.

Terran is traded under the ticker LLAP, which is an allusion to the Star Trek phrase “live long and prosper,” with shares previously listed under Tailwind Two Acquisition Corp.

Terran’s stock bounced wildly in its first day of trading, rising as high as 15% at the open, then plummeting as much as 19%, before turning around and finishing the day up 7.6% at $11.80 a share.

Terran follows in the footsteps of Virgin Galactic, Astra, Rocket Lab, Planet, and other space companies that have gone public through SPAC transactions. Terran co-founder and CEO Marc Bell, though, told CNBC that his company’s basis is what sets it distinct.

“A lot of these space SPACs that have gone public weren’t businesses that should have gone public,” Bell remarked. “On the other side, we have genuine revenues, a real pipeline, a real backlog, and real clients,” says the company.

Terran received $255 million in gross funds from its merger, including $29.4 million from Tailwind Two and a $50.8 million PIPE round — or private investment in public equity — led by AE Industrial Partners, Beach Point Capital, and Lockheed Martin. Francisco Partners, Beach Point Capital, and Lockheed Martin provided the remaining $175.3 million in loan funding.

“We’re going to use that money to expand,” Bell explained, “essentially employing and training new people and constructing additional facilities.”

Terran made $25 million in revenue in 2020, up from more over $40 million the previous year. The company has contracts to manufacture hundreds of satellites for customers such as NASA and the Pentagon, and its sales backlog has grown from $68 million to more than $200 million.

The business, based in Boca Raton, Florida, has announced plans to build a 660,000-square-foot facility near Cape Canaveral and lease a 60,000-square-foot site in Irvine, California, to increase its satellite production capability. The company, which now has over 300 workers, was formed by the merger of two prior companies, satellite producer Tyvak and images specialist PredaSAR.

“Our manufacturing company is distinct in that it is actually a recurring revenue business,” Bell explained. “It’s significantly cheaper for the US government to develop a constellation of satellites and constantly renewing it with current technology than it is to build one ‘juicy target’ in space,” says the author.

Terran is developing its own system of 96 Earth imagery satellites, dubbed “Earth observation 3.0” by Bell, as well as spacecraft for other clients. According to Bell, the satellites will integrate two forms of imagery collection technology, optical and synthetic aperture radar, so Terran can “overlay the data” and provide customers with more in-depth analysis.