Is NASA Stock an Option for Space Investors?

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Wondering how to buy NASA stock? The truth is, NASA does not trade on public stock exchanges, but don’t let that deter your space investment ambitions. This guide provides a detailed look into alternative routes for contributing to space exploration’s advancement by highlighting key companies and ETFs that are propelling the industry forward in partnership with NASA.

Key Takeaways

  • NASA is a government agency and not a publicly traded company, so individuals cannot invest directly in NASA, but can indirectly participate in the space industry through investing in private companies that collaborate with NASA, space-related ETFs, or R&D initiatives.

  • Companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman offer potential investment opportunities due to their longstanding collaborations with NASA on various aerospace projects, though each company has distinct roles and recent developments potential investors should be aware of.

  • Emerging companies like Rocket Lab USA Inc. and Intuitive Machines Inc., alongside space-related ETFs such as iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF and ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF, provide additional avenues for investing in the space industry, with varying levels of risk and innovation potential.

Understanding NASA’s Status: Government Agency vs. Publicly Traded Company

Understanding NASA

When thinking of space exploration, one organization often stands out – NASA. Established more than six decades ago, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been at the forefront of many of humanity’s greatest explorations beyond Earth’s atmosphere. However, keep in mind that NASA, being a U.S. government agency, does not offer public trading of its stock. This sets it apart from publicly traded companies that operate in the stock markets.

Unlike private sector companies that operate based on private investments and profitability, government agencies like NASA are not profit-driven and are funded by taxpayer money. They prioritize delivering public services, such as education, security, and health services, in contrast to the private sector’s focus on profit-making. Therefore, direct investment in NASA is not possible, but the burgeoning space economy offers other avenues to explore, such as:

  • Investing in private space companies that work with NASA

  • Investing in companies that provide products and services to the space industry

  • Investing in space-related ETFs or mutual funds

  • Supporting space-related research and development initiatives

These options allow individuals to indirectly support NASA and participate in the growing space industry.

Investing in the Space Industry: Top Companies Collaborating with NASA

While NASA itself isn’t a publicly traded entity, there are numerous companies that collaborate closely with the agency on various space operations. Investing in these companies can provide access to the fast-growing space economy, driven by advancements in space exploration and satellite technology. Companies such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing are key players in the aerospace sector that work closely with NASA on various projects, offering potential investment opportunities in the industry.

The successful execution of these companies’ projects with NASA can result in technological advancements, fresh contracts, and a robust standing in the space and defense markets, making them attractive for investors seeking long-term growth. Now, let’s explore the potential and roles of these three companies in space exploration in more detail.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)

Lockheed Martin has been a central figure in space exploration for over 60 years, contributing significantly to the advancement of human presence in the solar system. Some of the company’s major contributions include:

  • Development of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which is integral to the Artemis program aimed at bringing humans back to the Moon

  • Partnership with Blue Origin’s National Team for Artemis V

  • Contribution to NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services with McCandless Lunar Lander development

The company’s notable achievements in Mars exploration, starting with the Viking missions and leading up to the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, showcase its expertise and innovation in interplanetary missions. Lockheed Martin is also investing in advanced technologies to enable the landing of heavier payloads on Mars, thereby laying the foundation for future human missions to the Red Planet.

With its deep involvement in space exploration and a significant market cap, Lockheed Martin presents an attractive investment option for those looking to venture into the space industry.

Total Revenue

Fiscal YearRevenue
2023$67.57 Billion
2022$65.98 Billion
2021$67.04 Billion
2020$65.40 Billion
2019$59.81 Billion

Boeing (NYSE: BA)

Boeing, another significant player in the aerospace sector, plays a pivotal role in NASA’s Artemis program. The company’s Space and Launch division operates out of Huntsville, Alabama, managing the significant Space Launch System (SLS) Program, with efforts spanning across sites such as NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility and involving nationwide suppliers. Collaboration with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on strategies and policies for space exploration further demonstrates Boeing’s integral role in shaping the future of American space endeavors.

Despite recent challenges in its aviation business, the successful completion of NASA contracts could fuel growth in the aerospace sector for Boeing. However, potential investors should be aware of the recent aircraft incidents that have affected Boeing’s stock price and international credibility, emphasizing the need for the company to restore its reputation.

Total Revenue

Based on the financial data provided in the search results, here is Boeing’s annual revenue for the last 5 years in a table format:

Total Revenue

Fiscal YearRevenue
2023$77.794 Billion
2022$66.608 Billion
2021$62.286 Billion
2020$58.158 Billion
2019$76.559 Billion

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC)

Northrop Grumman is another company that collaborates with NASA on space operations. The company is currently working with NASA to:

  • Integrate large, un-crewed aircraft systems into the National Airspace System, which is specifically designed for air cargo operations

  • Achieve seamless and safe integration of autonomous aircraft into national airspace

  • Revolutionize un-crewed systems for goods transportation

The responsible collaboration aims to achieve these goals.

In addition to coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), conducting flight readiness reviews, and developing comprehensive test plans for simulations and flight demonstrations, Northrop Grumman’s increasing international credibility and potential for securing more contracts make it an appealing option for investors interested in the aerospace and defense industry.

Total Revenue

Fiscal YearRevenue
2023$39.290 Billion
2022$36.602 Billion
2021$35.667 Billion
2020$36.799 Billion
2019$33.841 Billion

Emerging Space Companies to Watch

Artistic representation of a lunar exploration mission

While established players like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman offer reliable investment options in the space industry, there are also emerging space companies that are pushing the envelope of innovation and offering unique investment opportunities. These companies, such as Rocket Lab USA Inc. and Intuitive Machines Inc., are developing innovative solutions in satellite technology and lunar exploration, presenting potential investment opportunities for those with a higher risk tolerance.

However, bear in mind that these are early-stage ventures and carry their own set of risks. These emerging ventures manage risks through:

  • Comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation plans

  • Diversification of their ventures across different space-related products and services

  • Strategic collaborations and partnerships

Now, let’s examine what these two companies have to offer in more depth.

Rocket Lab USA Inc. (RKLB)

Rocket Lab USA Inc. (RKLB)

Rocket Lab stands out as an end-to-end space solutions provider, featuring services that range from:

  • launch operations

  • satellite design and manufacturing

  • component supply

  • operation software

The company’s dedicated launch vehicle, Electron, is the United States’ second most frequently launched rocket, and Rocket Lab is currently developing the medium-class Neutron vehicle for diverse missions, including constellation deployment and interplanetary travel.

With over 178 satellites launched and its technology present in more than 1700 satellites with cumulative 150+ years in space, Rocket Lab has a significant market presence. The company’s development of the Neutron vehicle underpins its contract with NASA for a Mars mission, highlighting Rocket Lab’s potential in contributing to future interplanetary exploration.

Intuitive Machines Inc. (LUNR)

Intuitive Machines presents a unique investment opportunity in the space industry. Currently valued at more than $100 million, the company focuses on manufacturing drones and rovers for lunar exploration. This specialization makes it a unique player in the industry, offering a distinct investment option for those interested in lunar exploration and science.

While investing in individual companies offers a direct way to tap into the potential of the space industry, another approach is to invest in space-related ETFs. These funds provide a way to invest in the potential growth of the space exploration and technology industry, which is supported by both government and private investment.

These ETFs offer diversification by investing in stocks of companies that span various segments of the space sector, such as:

  • satellite manufacturing

  • space exploration

  • aerospace

  • satellite communications

They generally focus more on companies directly involved in space exploration and innovation, unlike traditional aerospace ETFs which include larger established aircraft and defense manufacturers.

Let’s examine two such ETFs in more detail: iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA) and ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (ARKX).

iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA)

The iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF aims to mirror the investment results of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Aerospace & Defense Index, which includes U.S. equities within the aerospace and defense sector. The ETF strives to invest at least 80% of its assets in securities that make up the index, allowing for up to 20% in derivatives, cash, or equivalents for flexibility.

Although ITA is a non-diversified fund, it exhibits typical holdings diversity within the aerospace and defense industry. Furthermore, it is rated #9 in the Industrials category by U.S. News within a spectrum of 30 evaluated Industrials ETFs, suggesting a strong position for long-term investment strategies.

Top 10 Holdings

RankHoldingSymbolWeight
1RTX CorporationRTX17.31%
2Boeing CompanyBA14.46%
3Lockheed Martin CorporationLMT12.70%
4Textron Inc.TXT4.74%
5TransDigm Group IncorporatedTDG4.66%
6General Dynamics CorporationGD4.63%
7Northrop Grumman CorporationNOC4.13%
8Axon Enterprise IncAXON4.49%
9L3Harris Technologies IncLHX4.44%
10Howmet Aerospace Inc.HWM4.42%

Please note that the exact weights might vary slightly between different sources due to reporting as of different dates

ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (ARKX)

The ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (ARKX) is an actively managed exchange-traded fund that is themed around space exploration and innovation. The fund invests at least 80% of its assets in companies that are leading, enabling, or benefitting from technological advancements in space exploration.

The ETF portfolio includes a mix of companies from four primary sectors: Orbital Aerospace, Suborbital Aerospace, Enabling Technologies, and Aerospace Beneficiary companies. These companies are engaged in diverse activities, from satellite and launch vehicle operations to developing essential technologies for space exploration, including AI, robotics, 3D printing, new material sciences, and energy storage solutions.

They also include companies that benefit from advancements in aerospace technology across various industries like agriculture, GPS, and internet access, among others.

Top 10 Holdings

RankHoldingTickerWeight
1Trimble Inc.TRMB10.27%
2AeroVironment, Inc.AVAV8.59%
3Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc.KTOS8.09%
4Iridium Communications Inc.IRDM6.64%
5L3Harris Technologies, Inc.LHX5.13%
63D Printing ETFPRNT4.88%
7KOMATSU LTD63014.62%
8Teradyne, Inc.TER4.61%
9Archer Aviation Inc.ACHR3.96%
10UiPath Inc.PATH3.83%

Please note that the exact weights might vary slightly between different sources due to reporting as of different dates

Risks and Considerations for Space Investments

Investing in the space industry, like any other sector, comes with its own set of risks and considerations. Some of these risks and considerations include:

  • Ensuring the reliability of space technology

  • Successful launches

  • Satellite operations

  • Overcoming the harsh environment of space

Furthermore, the space industry requires substantial financial investment with significant lead times before achieving returns. This includes costs for research, development, manufacturing, and launch services.

In addition to these, there are three main types of risks in the space industry:

  1. Market risks stemming from a rapidly changing space market, with uncertainties in the demand for services such as satellite communication and space tourism, and speculative markets like asteroid mining.

  2. Regulatory and legal risks driven by the complexity of compliance with both international and national space regulations which affect operations and liability.

  3. Environmental and ethical considerations should guide long-term planning and risk management, with emphasis on space debris and the overarching necessity of preserving the space environment.

Summary

In conclusion, the space industry presents a vast array of investment opportunities, from established aerospace giants collaborating with NASA to emerging innovators pushing the boundaries of space technology. Moreover, space-related ETFs offer a diversified investment approach to tap into this exciting frontier. However, investing in the space industry also comes with its own set of risks and considerations that investors must carefully assess. As we look to the stars, it’s clear that the space industry has the potential to offer not only a new frontier for exploration but also a new frontier for investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does NASA have a stock?

No, NASA is not a publicly traded company, so you cannot purchase stock in NASA. However, you can consider investing in companies like Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Boeing (NYSE: BA) for exposure to the space industry.

What is the best space stock to buy?

Based on popular opinions, some of the best space stocks to consider buying are Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE), and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC). These companies are on the leading edge of space exploration and innovation.

What are some companies that collaborate with NASA?

Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman are some of the key companies that collaborate with NASA. These companies work closely with the agency on various projects and initiatives.

Space-related ETFs can diversify your investment portfolio by offering exposure to the potential growth of the space exploration and technology industry through a range of companies in the sector.

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