If you’ve watched a moment of the financial news channel CNBC in the last year you know what a SPAC is. SPAC stands for (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) and are often referred to as a “blank check company”. In Q2 of this year Rocket Labs, a rocket company known for its use of 3D printing, will go public through a SPAC.
One of the main uses of 3D printing by Rocket Labs is in their engine called the Rutherford. If you follow the industry the engine is much of where the magic is for space flight. It has to first be safe and reliable, but also provide efficient and massive thrust. These are often competing parameters. In many cases companies don’t even make their own engines or recycle decades old technology. Rocket Labs’ use of 3D printing to create its own engine is a competitive advantage and a great article by MIT Technology Review has all the details.
For those not as familiar with a SPAC, Wikipedia describes a SPAC as, “a shell corporation listed on a stock exchange with the purpose of acquiring a private company, thus making it public without going through the traditional initial public offering process.” In some ways the SPAC is taking the place of late stage venture capital and allowing companies to go public that perhaps would be too speculative to do a traditional IPO. The SPAC is offered by Vector Acquisition Corporation and can be found under the Nasdaq symbol VACQ. This, however, is far from a start-up with many successful launches completed. There’s even one schedule for this month with the following mission description:
Rocket Lab’s 19th Electron mission will deploy a range of satellites for commercial and government satellite operators, as well as place a next-generation Rocket Lab Photon spacecraft in orbit to build spacecraft heritage ahead of Rocket Lab’s mission to the Moon for NASA later this year.https://www.rocketlabusa.com/missions/next-mission/
In case you didn’t catch that, they’re launching a NASA cube satellite to orbit the moon later this year! We’ll try to do our best to put a link on Twitter for any upcoming launches. If you’re looking for a way to play 3D printing and space, this could be a stock to follow.