Space: The Next Investment Frontier
Most people think of space exploration as the domain of scientific discovery and nothing more. Only a handful of tech visionaries have already begun investing in what could be the next greatest economic expansion in human history.
While it might seem like the stuff of science fiction, investors can already invest in space operations with defense contractors, aerospace companies and telecommunications companies. While most of the companies on the forefront of space technology are still private, investors should pay close attention to what is being developed and how they’re growing.
There’s no bigger name in private spaceflight right now than Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The company builds and launches rockets with its Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon spacecraft. Recent breakthroughs have made the rockets reusable, lowering the cost of a launch to around $42 million – a significant decrease from just a decade ago when launches typically averaged over $100 million. Musk’s latest goal to travel to Mars to establish a colony may sound too bold, almost unreasonable, but considering how fast the industry is developing, that goal looks more and more achievable every year.
The other major competitor in the private space industry is Blue Origins. Founded by Jeff Bezos, the man behind Amazon.com, this company also designs and launches its own private spacecraft. Unlike SpaceX, Blue Origins is focused more on human spaceflight with plans to take customers into space and even in orbit around the moon. Looking ahead, Bezo’s wants the company to provide supplies and flights to and from established space stations and lunar colonies. Along with SpaceX, Blue Origin also has a contract with NASA to provide supplies to the International Space Station.
Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries
Two up-and-coming industrial mining companies are also looking into space exploration: Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are specifically focused on mining asteroids. Before you dismiss that idea as mere fantasy, consider that a recently discovered asteroid (16 Psyche) located between Mars and Jupiter is estimated to contain a mineral worth of $10,000 quadrillion. That one asteroid alone is worth enough to crash the world economy. Many high value elements like gold, platinum, rare earth metals, and more can be mined from these objects remotely using drones. NASA is already planning a mission to 16 Psyche set to launch in 2023.
While space exploration might be the next big investment opportunity, significant risk remains. Like the advent of the computer, many pioneering companies will likely undergo a number of mergers and acquisitions, making it difficult for investors to navigate. Interested investors can get exposure to space technology through companies like Boeing and ATK Orbital, until the future of space industries begins to form more concretely.