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Why Maxar Technologies Stock Popped 15% This Morning

By Rich Smith – Feb 3, 2020 at 11:08AM

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Back-to-back contract wins send this space stock flying.

What happened

On a good day for the Dow, shares of Maxar Technologies (MAXR -4.59%) are flying higher than most. Up 15.5% in early trading Monday, shares of the NASA contractor are still holding on to a 6% gain as of 10:25 a.m. EST.

The reason: Maxar has just won back-to-back space contracts worth more than $100 million in revenue -- perhaps much more.

Intelsat 40e GEO satellite with TEMPO payload

Image source: Maxar Technologies.

So what

Let's take these one at a time. On Friday, NASA announced that Maxar will build for it an "innovative robotic spacecraft" which will employ "a lightweight robotic arm" (dubbed "SPIDER" for "Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot") to "assemble multiple antenna reflector elements into one large antenna reflector" in space.  

If successful, the space robot in question, which will be attached to Maxar's Restore-L spacecraft (which Maxar is also building for the space agency), will demonstrate the ability to take component parts tightly packed into a space capsule on Earth and assemble them into a much larger, bulkier item (which would not have fit into the capsule) in orbit -- truly an "innovation in space infrastructure."

Separately, on Monday, Intelsat (INTE.Q) hired Maxar to build its "Next-Generation Intelsat Epic Geostationary Communications Satellite with NASA Hosted Payload." The large Intelsat 40e geostationary communications satellite will integrate NASA's "Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution" (TEMPO) payload, which NASA will use "to enhance air-quality forecasts in North America."  

Now what

Maxar didn't disclose the precise price it will be paid for building Intelsat's satellite, or for incorporating NASA's payload into it, but similar satellites generally cost from $50 million to $100 million to build. Thus the Intelsat contract and the NASA contract combined probably add $200 million to Maxar's $2 billion-a-year revenue stream, and perhaps even more than that.

Furthermore, Maxar noted that the Intelsat work, at least, will "be accretive to Maxar's earnings and cash flow on an annual basis throughout the production process," so this will be profitable work for Maxar (which has been unprofitable for the past two years). That can only mean good things for Maxar stock.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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