As William Shatner Takes Off in Blue Origin’s Rocket, Space Stocks Gain Attention Once Again

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Captain Kirk blasted off aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-18 this morning, making 90-year-old actor William Shatner the oldest person to go to space ever.  The recent advances in space tourism have increased the interest in space stocks, but not all fare the same.

See: Elon Musk’s SpaceX Valuation Hits $100 Billion, Becomes Second Most-Valuable Private Company WorldwideFind: Numbers Behind the Modern-Day Space Race: Why Billionaires Are Obsessed With Going To Space and How Much They’re Spending

Shatner and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, joined crewmates Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries for the flight.

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now & then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me,” Shatner tweeted from space.

While Blue Origin is not publicly traded, these recent space advances have helped boost the interest in the sector’s stocks — but investors should tread carefully, according to some experts.  For example, Virgin Galactic, one of the most well-known space companies, saw its stock fluctuate wildly this year as the company ran into an array of issues.

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Lou Whiteman, contributing analyst at The Motley Fool, tells GOBankingRates that Virgin Galactic twice this year saw the stock more than doubling in value, and both times it gave those gains back.

“Space tourism is an exciting opportunity, but Virgin Galactic is a very early-stage company valued by the market at more than $6 billion,” Whiteman says. “They must prove they can routinely get people into space, and also prove the market for six-figure tickets to space is big enough that this can become a viable business. The jury is still very much out on that.”

See: 5 Space Stocks To Keep Your Eye OnFind: Virgin Galactic Stock Tumbles Following Flight Delay – Is It Still Worth Buying?

He adds that we are in a new era for space investing because companies, such as Virgin Galactic, are going public much earlier in their life cycles.

“We’ve had about a half dozen space IPOs (and SPAC deals) over the past two years. That means that all the trial and error that comes with space is now playing out on public markets, leading to a lot of volatility. There will be winners among these companies, but investors need to remain cautious because it is hard to imagine all the companies that have gone public in the last few years becoming long-term successes,” he says.

Whiteman says that investors can also pick from several defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Leidos Holdings, and L3 Harris, “that have large space businesses that are part of more diversified portfolios.”

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