initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Space company Momentus looks to go public through a SPAC

  • Space transportation company Momentus Space was founded in 2017 to develop a “last-mile” transportation system for satellites launched into orbit, using a novel water-based propulsion system. 
  • The company is expected to go public on the NASDAQ in early 2021through Stable Road’s special purpose acquisition vehicle that it raised $172.5 million for in November 2019.
  • Momentus offers a “last mile delivery” service for spacecraft, with a transfer vehicle that helps deliver satellites from a rocket to a specific orbit.
  • Stable Road’s SPAC is listed under the ticker symbol “SRAC.” Stable Road filings for the SPAC as recently as June note that it was “focusing its search on companies in the cannabis industry,” although the firm did not limit itself to acquiring a company in that particular sector.

Mikhail Kokorich visits SpaceX headquarters in 2012 alongside then-Roscosmos director Vladimir Popovkin, with Elon Musk in the background.

Momentus is a Santa Clara, California-based company that offers a “last mile delivery” service for spacecraft. The core of Momentus’ business is Vigoride, which is a transfer vehicle that helps deliver satellites from a rocket to a specific orbit. Vigoride consists of a frame, an engine, solar panels, avionics and a set of satellite deployers and is especially designed for satellites that hitch a ride on large rockets, an increasingly popular industry practice called ridesharing.

Investors worry that the transaction may face unusual scrutiny because Momentus CEO Mikhail Kokorich, though credited with a majority of the company’s inventions, is legally barred from accessing the firm’s technology by US national security law, according to a Nov. 2 SEC filing.

SPAC critics say the method of going public lends itself to companies looking to avoid the scrutiny of a typical public offering in a frothy market driven by retail investors.

Developing cutting-edge space technology is a legally challenging business. Much of what makes the most advanced commercial satellites effective—microchips that can withstand the harsh environment of space, precision engineering and manufacturing, finely-calibrated sensors, and powerful software algorithms—is considered “dual-use” technology; that is, it has both civilian and military applications. The US government regulates this technology to make sure foreign governments don’t have access to it.

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