Rocket Lab acquires Planetary Systems Corporation in cash and stock deal

Rocket Lab is continuing its acquisition strategy, this time with a cash and stock deal with Planetary Systems Corporation (PSC).

The news was announced ahead of the company’s third-quarter earnings. Rocket Lab said it would purchase the company for $42 million in cash, plus 1,720,841 in shares of common stock, with the potential for additional shares based on future performance.

PSC is a spacecraft separation systems company based in Maryland. More than 100 missions have used its mechanical separation systems and satellite dispensers. The company makes a “Canisterized Satellite Dispenser,” a separation system to separate spacecraft from rockets while also protecting them during launch. PSC’s hardware has been integrated with launch vehicles developed domestically by SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and the now-retired NASA Space Shuttle; and internationally by Arianespace, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and others.

The deal comes as Rocket Lab continues to pursue its goal of becoming not simply a launch provider, but a fully vertically integrated space services company, offering everything from transportation to orbit to the spacecraft themselves. Rocket Lab said in a statement that it will use the product hardware across its Space Systems division, which includes its Photon satellite buses and spacecraft component products.

This marks Rocket Lab’s third acquisition in around 18 months. Last month, the company announced it had acquired Advanced Solutions, Inc., a Colorado-based company that develops flight software for spacecraft. Rocket Lab also acquired Sinclair Interplanetary last year, a manufacturer of space hardware.

PSC will continue to be headed by the current CEO, Mike Whalen. The deal is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of this year.