TAMPA, Fla. — Terran Orbital chair and CEO Marc Bell said the satellite maker is lowering 2023 revenue guidance following payment delays from Rivada Space, even though the company’s largest customer still expects to pay $180 million later this year under their $2.4 billion constellation contract.

In an Oct. 26 virtual town hall meeting with shareholders, Bell said Terran Orbital’s upcoming full-year revenue projection would be lower than an earlier $250 million forecast, but still represent a “material increase” over the $94 million made in 2022. Terran Orbital recorded about $60 million in revenue for the first half of 2023.

The updated guidance will be published during the Boca Raton, Florida-headquartered company’s third-quarter earnings update Nov. 14, and follows delays with other “key awards” that were not named.

Terran Orbital also supports Lockheed Martin, an investor in the publicly listed company, on programs for the Space Development Agency (SDA). 

According to Bell, Terran Orbital currently has more than 120 satellites under construction or recently launched — not including the 300 satellites under contract for Rivada Space’s low Earth orbit (LEO) broadband network.

The company also announced three awards this week that Bell said are worth more than $160 million in total:

However, the Rivada Space contract for 300 satellites to be delivered for SpaceX launches starting 2025 represents the bulk of Terran Orbital’s backlog of future revenues.

The Rivada distraction

Privately held Rivada Space’s highly guarded plans to finance the 500-kilogram satellites have been a concern for Terran Orbital investors as the manufacturer’s shares significantly underperform on the New York Stock Exchange.

Questions around the Rivada Space contract have taken attention away from Terran Orbital’s other growth opportunities, Bell said during a town hall event the company launched to help revive flagging shares now in danger of being kicked off the stock exchange.

While Rivada Space seeks to keep a private profile, he said the company has been transparent with Terran Orbital about their funding sources and status of future financing from the outset.

“Their money so far has been affiliated with a large sovereign that has not yet publicly announced their support for the project,” Bell said.

Rivada Space, a German subsidiary of U.S.-based wireless technology firm Rivada Networks, has also sought support from the U.S. Ex-Im Bank to finance the constellation.

Bell said Rivada Space has paid Terran Orbital more than $5 million to launch the constellation program and has paid all amounts due to date.

“Importantly, the contract and payments were structured, as they typically are, to ensure Terran Orbital is paid in advance of work being performed,” he added.

While Terran Orbital has scaled ongoing efforts on the project to reflect the delayed payments, he said work could be ramped up quickly. Rivada Space also does not expect any issues meeting its regulatory commitments, including deploying 288 of the satellites by mid-2026.

Chasing new business

Bell told shareholders during the town hall event that Terran Orbital is responding to criticism about its heavy reliance on Lockheed Martin and Rivada Space by increasing the size of its business development and capture team to diversify its customer base.

He said the company is currently pursuing 80 opportunities, comprising more than 2,800 satellite buses across roughly 40 different customers and collectively valued at more than $2.7 billion.

Terran Orbital also remains on track to record positive EBITDA — Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization — next year and currently has more than $70 million of cash on hand, according to Bell.

The town hall follows an Oct. 11 letter from investors collectively holding 8.4% of Terran Orbital that called for leadership changes in addition to a strategic review to improve market credibility.

Stratton Sclavos, a member of Terran Orbital’s board of independent directors who issued their own letter a week later to underline continued support for Bell, appeared briefly during the town hall event to reaffirm this stance.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...