When Will SpaceX Stock Hit the Market? - April 2015

Updated Dec. 22, 2015: Eager investors want to know if SpaceX stock is any closer to hitting the market - possible IPO in 2016? - especially after today's news from Florida...

Last night, the company accomplished a historic landing. Ten minutes after its Falcon 9 rocket launched to carry 11 satellites into space, the rocket's booster touched back down safely in a vertical, pinpoint landing in Cape Canaveral.

That means the booster can be reused - greatly diminishing the cost of space travel.

This third attempt at booster recovery came after two unsuccessful tries. The first time, the Falcon 9 booster crashed and exploded after running out of hydraulic fluid on return. The second time, it was slightly off kilter and tipped over.

"The Falcon has landed," SpaceX's launch commentator said in a webcast of the event. Applause, cheers, and "U.S.A." chants erupted at SpaceX's California headquarters. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter:

elon musk

elon musk tesla

elon musk space x

Musk's moonshot private space exploration company is situated like a key in the doorway to an entire new wave of tech.

The young entrepreneur is working hard to make SpaceX the preeminent commercial space flight firm in the world...

SpaceX stock
SpaceX Dragon launched into low-earth orbit atop SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 8, 2010.

The company has booked nearly 50 launches through 2017, expected to bring in roughly $5 billion in sales. SpaceX was the first commercial company hired by NASA to ferry supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). And it won another contract, along with Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), to fly astronauts to the station.

SpaceX aims to send humans to Mars' surface within 10 to 20 years. In a July 2013 interview with The Guardian, Elon Musk said he'd like to fund a colony of 80,000 people on the red planet - and become a colonist himself. "The key thing for me is to develop the technology to transport large numbers of people and cargo to Mars. That's the ultimate awesome thing." At a forum last year, Musk noted "there are no runways on Mars." In other words, rockets would have to land using the thrust of their engines - like the Falcon 9 booster did today.

On top of all that, SpaceX remains consistently cash-flow positive, and has venture backing.

Imagine the returns if you owned a chunk of SpaceX stock the day the news breaks that alien life exists...

Owning SpaceX stock would be like owning Google stock when the company unlocked a way to organize and search data on the web - shares went up 179% their first year on the market. Search rivals that sprung up later, like Yahoo and Bing, have never caught up (more than two-thirds of the world's Internet searches were made through Google in 2013, the most recent available data).

But there's a big obstacle preventing investors from snapping up SpaceX shares: it is still privately held and hasn't made any announcements to change...

When Can You Buy SpaceX Stock?

Money Morning Defense & Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson, a 34-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top tech financial analysts today, thinks eventually we will be able to invest in SpaceX stock.

"[Musk] hasn't yet announced plans to take SpaceX public, but I believe that's what he'll do. I base that on what happened with Tesla," Robinson said on Oct. 14, 2014.

We can piece together a few telling clues from Musk himself...

The last comment Musk made was in 2013 when he said an IPO is "only possible in the very long term when Mars Colonial Transporter is flying regularly." The Mars Colonial Transporter is part of Musk's spaceflight system that can take humans to and from Mars. In 2011, Musk said he hopes to be able to do this "within 10 to 20 years."

But just in a Jan. 5, 2015, "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session on Reddit, Musk told participants his Mars Colonial Transporter will be unveiled by the end of this year.

"The Mars transport system will be a completely new architecture. Am hoping to present that towards the end of this year. Good thing we didn't do it sooner, as we have learned a huge amount from Falcon and Dragon." (The Dragon is a spacecraft designed to deliver both cargo and, eventually, people to orbiting destinations like the International Space Station; the Falcon is a rocket that transports satellites and the Dragon spacecraft safely into orbit.)

It's reasonable to surmise that, should the Mars Transporter become available this year as planned, it'll be "flying regularly" within the next few years.

Since that is Musk's threshold for taking SpaceX public, there's a real chance SpaceX stock will trade within the next few years.

Now we'll just have to see what comes first - evidence of alien life, or a SpaceX IPO?

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Tara Clarke is an associate editor at Money Morning. You can follow her on Twitter @TaraKateClarke.

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