As of 12:30 p.m. ET, Rocket Lab continues to hold onto about half those gains -- up 7.5%.
Calling Rocket Lab "the leader in the fragmented but fast-growing small sat launch market," Cowen praised the company for having "the best U.S. launch record after SpaceX." (SpaceX archrival United Launch Alliance, however, might disagree with that assessment. At last count, the Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture has sent 152 rockets into space in a row, "with 100 percent mission success," as that company points out.)
Cowen also jumped the gun a bit in crediting Rocket Lab with having a "low cost reusable design" (Rocket Lab hasn't actually reused any rockets yet) and a "product growth plan with Neutron, a medium launch vehicle" -- which isn't expected to be ready before 2024.
Rocket Lab's other pluses, however, are more self-evident. After completing its "Antipodean Adventure" mission earlier this month, the company has launched six times this year already, and 29 times overall. Having launched several times more often than any other American small launch provider, Rocket Lab is clearly king of the hill of the small-launch segment of this market, and Cowen's probably right that this will give the company "scale cost advantages," as it is able to spread out rocket development costs among more actual rocket launches.
Quibbles aside, Cowen's note does contain one tidbit worth highlighting. As quoted in a write-up from Street Insider, the analyst notes that once Neutron is flying, it will compete more or less directly with the biggest rockets flown by yet another space company, Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), which boasts a medium-launch Antares rocket that it's currently re-engining.
If Rocket Lab succeeds in getting Neutron up and running by 2024 as planned, it should beat Northrop to the punch, because Northrop's upgraded Antares isn't expected to be ready before 2025 -- and will furthermore cost more than Neutron. With these advantages in hand, Cowen sees a path to 50% or even 55% annual revenue growth for Rocket Lab over the next three years.
And if Rocket Lab ends up overtaking and outrunning Northrop, that growth could be only the beginning.