If you are thinking about investing in the burgeoning commercial space industry, now is the pivotal time to start building a portfolio. Although you can’t yet buy a piece of SpaceX, the obvious industry frontrunner everyone wants to invest in, there are a growing number of smaller rocket, satellite and space infrastructure companies up for grabs on the public market.
At the beginning of 2021, there were zero publicly traded rocket companies. Of course there were established NASA contractors such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. But there wasn’t a Nasdaq- or NYSE-listed company capable of manufacturing launch vehicles like the privately owned SpaceX or the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance.
That changed in July when Astra Space, a San Francisco rocket startup making a 40-foot-tall satellite-delivering rockets, went public through a reverse merger with the special-purpose acquisition company Holicity. A month later, reusable rocket developer Rocket Lab also made its public market debut. Since then, nearly a dozen more space companies have gone public, all through SPAC mergers.
As with most SPAC deals we’ve seen in the past two years, many of these stocks are extremely volatile right now. If you are the risk-averse type, it’s not a bad idea to look into exchange-traded funds (ETFs), through which you can own holdings in multiple space stocks.
Two space ETFs that have made headlines this year are Procure Space ETF, launched in April 2019 and traded on Nasdaq under the ticker “UFO,” and Cathie Wood’s ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (“ARKX”), launched in April.