A few minutes before dawn yesterday we nearly crossed what could become a major space-related milestone.
An intriguing little startup firm called SpaceX attempted to launch one of its Falcon 9 rockets from Cape Canaveral, Fl., to dock its Dragon spacecraft with the International Space Station.
Of course, the launch was later scrubbed for technical reasons. Another attempt is scheduled for Tuesday.
But make no mistake about it – this could mark a turning point for the U.S.
NASA ended the shuttle program last year. That leaves the U.S. hitching rides to the Space Station from our "good friends" the Russians. That's not good for national security, much less for innovation and exploration.
We've already talked about the "New Space Race" – part of that being the asteroid mining initiative that private company Planetary Resources is embarking upon.
When it comes to space transportation, thankfully, SpaceX plans to pick up where cash-strapped NASA left off.
A successful launch could eventually have a value of at least $1.6 billion – that's the total price tag for a contract NASA gave to SpaceX for 12 Space Station flights.
But there's more to the story than that…
Commercializing Space Travel
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.
That's why, even though Saturday was just a test run, there's a lot riding on it.
The company, crew, NASA, and investors all hope this new launch pulls it together for the firm and the budding commercial space sector.
CEO Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and plowed $100 million of his own money into it. What they're after – eventually – is the ability to offer space travel at approximate one-third of the cost per passenger that Russia can do it today, according to a recent Wired interview with another SpaceX co-founder.
If anyone can do it, it's Elon Musk.
Born in South Africa, he is a talented young entrepreneur with a knack for making money. (This is the man who was the inspiration for multi-billionaire industrialist Tony Stark in the film version of "Iron Man" – both for director Jon Favreau and for actor Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Stark.)
And he's part of the reason I believe in SpaceX, even if the mission tomorrow goes bust.
This is just not a man who likes to take "no" for an answer.
He co-founded Internet payment business PayPal and sold it to Ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY) for a cool $1.5 billion just three years later.
Musk then founded a very hot startup in the electric car sector that you've probably heard of.
Today, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) boasts a market cap of more than $3 billion. The stock has returned 34% over the past two years. Tesla is best known for a sleek sports car called the Roadster. The trade press raves about this flagship product. So does late-night TV host Jay Leno, a famous car buff with a huge collection of cool rides.
Here's the thing about his next project.
SpaceX has deals pending with other governments and companies that could be worth many billions more.
And the company looks like to me like a strong IPO candidate. It not only has venture backing, it has so far received more than $380 million in NASA funding. So it has good cash flow and the chance to prove it can turn a solid profit before selling shares to the public.
Musk is another example of the kinds of bright minds that make me so optimistic about our future. Of course, we will have setbacks and losses along the way. Just as we have in the past. I believe that no matter what happens tomorrow, it's a win for America. In the long run, we can't help but succeed.
That means it's just a matter of time before savvy investors find ways to get rich from the New Space Race. And SpaceX is just the kind of firm we want to watch in the Era of Radical Change.
So, if you want to find a way to profit from the next generation of tech breakthroughs, the Era of Radical Change is a great place to start.
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About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is a 36-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top tech and biotech financial analysts working today. That's because, as a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs, scientists, and high-profile players. And he brings this entire world of Silicon Valley "insiders" right to you...
- He was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon.
- He was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
- As cyber-security was becoming a focus of national security, Michael was with Dave DeWalt, the CEO of McAfee, right before Intel acquired his company for $7.8 billion.
This all means the entire world is constantly seeking Michael's insight.
In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business, he is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before the word "bailout" became a household word.
Silicon Valley defense publications vie for his analysis. He's worked for Defense Media Network and Signal Magazine, as well as The New York Times, American Enterprise, and The Wall Street Journal.
And even with decades of experience, Michael believes there has never been a moment in time quite like this.
Right now, medical breakthroughs that once took years to develop are moving at a record speed. And that means we are going to see highly lucrative biotech investment opportunities come in fast and furious.
To help you navigate the historic opportunity in biotech, Michael launched the Bio-Tech Profit Alliance.
His other publications include: Strategic Tech Investor, The Nova-X Report, Bio-Technology Profit Alliance and Nexus-9 Network.