Revenue at SpaceDev Inc. jumped 64 percent in 2004, though the company’s loss increased over 2003, SpaceDev reported March 29.

SpaceDev lost $3 million on revenue of $4.9 million in 2004, compared to a loss of $1.2 million on revenue of $3 million in 2003, the company said.

Jim Benson, SpaceDev’s founding chairman and chief executive officer, credited the revenue growth to the company’s work for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and for Scaled Composite’s SpaceShipOne vehicle.

Missile defense work accounted for $2 million of the 2004 revenue, with the Air Force Research Laboratory contract contributing $1.7 million and SpaceShipOne $686,000 in revenue, said Richard Slansky, the company’s chief financial officer.

Despite the revenue jump, SpaceDev continues to report a loss due to non-cash interest expense related to financing activities, Slansky said. The expense charge was $3.3 million in 2004, up from $258,000 in 2003, he said.

SpaceDev’s backlog stood at $47 million at the end of 2004, up from $2 million at the end of 2003, with the Missile Defense Agency leading the way, Benson said. Missile work should contribute another $8 million to revenue in 2005, he said.

Pentagon work will continue to drive SpaceDev’s growth beyond 2005, with NASA’s vision for space exploration also providing opportunities, Benson said.

“NASA has become a tremendous potential customer and we’re spending a lot of time working with a variety of NASA people at a bunch of different levels,” Benson said. “This is a fun and exciting time ripe with opportunities. “