Space Stock Boom Gets Serious With Another Billionaire-Backed Startup Entry

ESA's Aeolus satellite was recently maneuvered to avoid collision with a SpaceX Starlink satellite.

ESA’s Aeolus satellite was recently maneuvered to avoid collision with a SpaceX Starlink satellite. ESA/ATG medialab

Betting on an imminent space boom fueled by private-sector companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, another billionaire-backed Silicon Valley startup is jumping on the red hot SPAC bandwagon to go public.

Momentus, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company specializing in the “last-mile delivery” in space,  announced on Wednesday that it will go public through a reverse merger with the special purpose acquisition firm Stable Road Capital in a deal valuing the space company at $1.2 billion.

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Founded in 2017, Momentus’ main product is a spacecraft called Vigoride that can help deliver a satellite from a rocket to a specific orbit, answering an emerging demand of satellite makers that launch multiple small satellites on one rocket through what are called ride-share programs. It’s cheaper for small satellites to hitch a ride on a large rocket, but the problem is that the rocket sends all payloads to a single orbital position, while many satellites need to be deployed to their designated orbit to function.

Momentus has struck several agreements with satellite companies to bundle Vigoride vehicles with their small satellites prior to launch. The company also recently entered a partnership with space 3D printer maker Made In Space to develop a new vehicle with a robotic arm, which can grab a satellite (not attached to a Vigoride prior to launch) in space and move it to a new orbit. The first Vigoride mission is set to launch in December atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Momentus is the second space company to go public after Virgin Galactic’s grand market debut this time last year. Like Virgin Galactic, Momentus doesn’t have a viable product or a steady revenue stream just yet, which leaves many investors unsure about its investability.

Virgin Galactic has been on the public market for a year, but it wasn’t until last month that the company received Wall Street’s full endorsement (which pushed up the stock price.) Still, the company hasn’t delivered on its space tourism promise yet. Its first commercial flight is expected to take off before the end of this year.

Momentus’s largest investor is Prime Movers Lab, a venture capital firm backed by high-profile investors including hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman and Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale.

The SPAC transaction is expected to close early next year. Momentus will be be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “MNTS.”

Space Stock Boom Gets Serious With Another Billionaire-Backed Startup Entry