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Space, the Final Investing Frontier

Written By Alexandra Perry

Posted March 7, 2017

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I still do — and it’s a dream I share with many Americans. We, after all, are the country that went to space — the country that stepped onto the moon first.

Yet things have changed since my childhood. When I was a kid, bopping around with a cardboard helmet on my head, Mars wasn’t a question; it was a certainty. We would get there.

Then space travel stalled. Ventures to the final frontier became primarily shuttles.

It made me wonder whether my generation would be the last to dream of space.

Maybe not. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in space flights. These ventures are headed by private companies. Packages are being delivered to space crews by private space vessels; private vessels are mining for precious metals on asteroids. These strides have brought private companies into the public eye and rallied interest from investors.

We may soon see private citizens on Mars. But it won’t be NASA that gets us there.

SpaceX and the Race to Mars

SpaceX, a private space exploration company founded by master entrepreneur Elon Musk, is sticking to its bold goal of getting us to Mars.

And SpaceX’s potential is hard to dispute. Musk has proven to be a success in every industry, from Internet businesses to car manufacturing. SpaceX is currently cash flow positive, making it the first private space venture to generate money.

And then, of course, there is the fact that everything SpaceX does is groundbreaking.

In 2010, SpaceX put the first reusable spacecraft in orbit. In 2012, it was the first private company to dock on an international spaceship. Just last week, the company announced plans to send people to the moon by the end of 2018.

So how is SpaceX making money?

That is a solid question — especially considering that SpaceX’s government sister NASA has struggled with the crushing costs of space exploration.

SpaceX currently has a $1.6 billion contract to supply replacements for NASA’s space shuttle. This contract starts in 2017.

Google and Fidelity have both poured funds into the company, a combined investment of $1 billion.

Will Consumers Be Able to Invest in Space X?

Personally, I am keeping my fingers crossed for a SpaceX IPO in the next four years.

For many, the IPO would offer a chance to invest in the future as well as a nostalgic kickback to the days of Kennedy, when Americans clustered together to watch rockets take to the skies. We want to be involved in these great missions. 

Plus, if SpaceX continues to innovate at its current rate, it will prove lucrative — a fact that Google and Fidelity are already betting on.

Now, many are speculating that an IPO is on the horizon, especially since the Trump administration has expressed an interest in private space exploration.

Musk sits on Trump’s business advisory board, so that seed has already been planted. Musk has taken to Twitter multiple times to defend his advisory board position from critics, stating that his only goal, as always, is to provide constructive advice to help drive things in a positive direction.

Musk has made it clear that he considers space travel mission critical for human advancement. This is a view he shares with fellow futurist Peter Thiel, who pushed Trump to appoint individuals who favor private space exploration to the NASA transition team.

All these moves indicate that the SpaceX IPO will accelerate under the Trump administration. So, even though it isn’t time to invest yet, keep an eye on SpaceX for major moves in the next four years.

Who knows? The next generation may not dream of being astronauts. Instead, they may already be taking day trips to space.