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Maxar Inks $142M NASA Deal for Robotic Assembly Technology

Zacks Equity Research

Maxar Technologies Inc. MAXR recently inked a $142 million deal with aerospace research organization, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”), to construct in-space assembly of multiple communications antenna for a satellite with the help of a robotic arm. The partnership is likely to reinforce high-throughput satellite technologies for the deployment of seamless in-orbit operations with unparalleled scale and cost-effectiveness.

Dubbed Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER), the 16-foot robotic arm will be part of NASA’s Restore-L project to showcase in-space automation of assembling functional spacecraft components and manufacture a spacecraft beam in low-Earth orbit. The 32-foot lightweight structural beam will be made using Tethers Unlimited’s MarkerSat technology, which will validate the capability to construct large spacecraft structures in orbit. Notably, the Restore-L mission will develop a suite of technologies that are specifically designed to refuel and repair satellites in space.

Per the deal, Maxar-built Restore-L revolutionary spacecraft will provide adequate structural support and propulsion with effective data and communications interface to enable greater mission resilience and flexibility for in-space demonstration. The project includes approximately $2 million of work to be performed by the West Virginia Robotic Technology Center, to enhance the reliability of orbital tasks through multiple performance studies. Notably, SPIDER had cleared its ground demonstration phase or the first phase in 2017 as part of the previously announced Dragonfly on-orbit satellite assembly program in association with Maxar’s wholly-owned spacecraft manufacturing subsidiary — SSL.

The second phase of the partnership involves amalgamation of innovative system architecture with best-in-class robotic applications for remote-sensing satellites that will open new avenues for government and commercial space mission endeavors, including human exploration of the Moon and Mars and in-space telescope assembly. Being a leading innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, Maxar’s team will construct the almost space-ready robotic arm in Pasadena, CA with its much-anticipated launch in mid-2020.

Last year, it secured important deals in its Space Systems business, including initial work on Canadarm3 and the TEMPO instrument for NASA. It also witnessed robust growth in Imagery and Services segments, including a four-year contract award for its Global-EGD service, a program to support GEOINT Cloud Architecture for the U.S. Air Force.

Headquartered in Westminster, CO, Maxar has been making progress on its near-term priorities for sustained top and bottom-line growth. These comprise efforts to reduce leverage levels, re-engineer the Space Solutions business, position Imagery, Services, and MDA businesses for long-term growth. Furthermore, the company is focused on creating a leaner and more agile organization with a reduced cost structure to stay competitive. It is putting significant efforts to provide greater value to its mission partners with consistent focus on speed, expanded data sources and tools.

With a team of 5,800 members operating across 30 global locations, Maxar utilizes its diverse portfolio of government and civil space solutions to deliver its expertise on satellites, robotics, analytics and geospatial data for addressing various mission-critical challenges. The company also caters to a plethora of industry verticals such as defense and intelligence-focused government organizations, and technology companies, which are mainly focused on visualization and automation. Maxar’s collaboration with NASA is a step forward in this regard.

Driven by diligent execution of operational strategies, the stock has rallied 185.5% compared with the industry’s growth of 8.6% in the past year.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Maxar currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader industry are Perion Network Ltd. PERI, Match Group, Inc. MTCH and Alphabet Inc. GOOGL. While Perion Network and Match Group sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Alphabet carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Perion Network exceeded estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the positive earnings surprise being 85.1%, on average.

Match Group exceeded estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the positive earnings surprise being 22.2%, on average.

Alphabet has a long-term earnings expectation of 16.7%.

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