SpaceX Stock Could be Next Year's Hottest Tech Play

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It's been almost 43 years since millions of people sat perched in front of rabbit-eared television sets or tuned into AM radio stations, watching and listening in awe as Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

Stepping onto unchartered territory Armstrong uttered the famous words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Some four decades later, space chatter is buzzing again, thanks to a privately owned startup firm called Space Exploration Technologies Corp., more commonly known as SpaceX.

SpaceX on May 22 marked a turning point in U.S. space travel when it became the first private firm to launch a capsule into orbit. When Dragon successfully touched down a week later, it confirmed a new era in space exploration.

And things could get even more exciting and lucrative for investors as an initial public offering of the epic company looms.

The SpaceX Mission

Dragon's successful mission included a series of intricate maneuvers, docking with the International Space Station where it dropped off more than 1,000 pounds of supplies, and then returning to Earth.

For the legendary exploit, SpaceX was rewarded with a U.S. government contract to the tune of $1.6 billion to fly a dozen more supply missions.

SpaceX's accomplishment is extraordinary. In addition to the technological feat, it's introducing private enterprise and investment to the government's waning space program. The growth of private companies in space travel could reduce future taxpayer loads.

Elon Musk, the company's brilliant billionaire founder says SpaceX's mission costs just one-eighth the price of space shuttle flights.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed in a 2011 study that SpaceX spent scores less than if the government-funded organization had handled the Dragon capsule mission, according to Bloomberg News.

Now SpaceX will focus on another big feat: constructing America's next manned spacecraft.

In a CBS News' "60 Minutes" feature on June 3, Musk said he believes his company will produce the next American rocket to carry an astronaut into space. The company aspires to send humans into space by 2015.

SpaceX has some competition in that arena, and Musk acknowledged in the "60 Minutes" interview that he is "probably not the guy that most people would bet on."

"It's like a little kid fighting a bunch of sumo wrestlers," Musk told correspondent Scott Pelley. "Usually, the sumo wrestlers win. We're a little scrappy company. Every now and again, the little scrappy company wins. And I think this'll be one of those times."
Dragon's successful mission included a series of intricate maneuvers, docking with the International Space Station where it dropped off more than 1,000 pounds of supplies, and then returning to Earth.

For the legendary exploit, SpaceX was rewarded with a U.S. government contract to the tune of $1.6 billion to fly a dozen more supply missions.

SpaceX's accomplishment is extraordinary. In addition to the technological feat, it's introducing private enterprise and investment to the government's waning space program. The growth of private companies in space travel could reduce future taxpayer loads.

Elon Musk, the company's brilliant billionaire founder says SpaceX's mission costs just one-eighth the price of space shuttle flights.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed in a 2011 study that SpaceX spent scores less than if the government-funded organization had handled the Dragon capsule mission, according to Bloomberg News.

Now SpaceX will focus on another big feat: constructing America's next manned spacecraft.

In a CBS News' "60 Minutes" feature on June 3, Musk said he believes his company will produce the next American rocket to carry an astronaut into space. The company aspires to send humans into space by 2015.

SpaceX has some competition in that arena, and Musk acknowledged in the "60 Minutes" interview that he is "probably not the guy that most people would bet on."

"It's like a little kid fighting a bunch of sumo wrestlers," Musk told correspondent Scott Pelley. "Usually, the sumo wrestlers win. We're a little scrappy company. Every now and again, the little scrappy company wins. And I think this'll be one of those times."

SpaceX Stock in 2013?

Musk told Bloomberg News in February there is a very good chance SpaceX, founded in 2002, will go public in 2013.

Tapping into the prowess of private enterprise will greatly augment SpaceX's endeavors. Its current commercial sales and government missions have helped it already amass $4 billion in revenue under contract.

Money Morning's Defense and Technology Specialist Michael A. Robinson sees the possibilities with SpaceX.

In a piece a couple weeks back he wrote, "I predict that in a few short years, commercial space travel will become routine. Not only will we be mining all those near-space asteroids for vital resources, we will be able to visit Mars, and even send tourists out for close-up views of the planets."

And Robinson has faith in SpaceX's ambitious leader.

"If anyone can do it, it's Elon Musk," said Robinson.

In fact, CEO Musk is the inspiration for the multi-billionaire industrialist Tony Stark in the film version of the blockbuster sci-fi adventure "Iron Man."

A SpaceX IPO could harvest the same frenzy and fervor that was incited during the dot.com era - a time quite familiar to Musk. He's one of the most accomplished and wealthy figures to materialize from the Web-based world.

Musk in 1995 started his first Internet company, Zip2, which created publishing software. Musk sold the company for more than $300 million in 1999, and then went on to co-start X.com, which went on to became PayPal, and was sold in 2002 to eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) for $1.5 billion. He then started the electric car start-up Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA).

As Money Morning's Robinson noted, Tesla currently boats a $3 billion market cap, and the stock has returned 34% to date.

To stay up-to-date on SpaceX stock developments and other advanced tech profit opportunities, just click here to read Robinson's free newsletter, the Era of Radical Change.

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