The commercialization of space could hold endless opportunities for investors. From asteroid mining to a new era of lunar exploration, the nascent sector could be a source of near-endless wealth creation. Today we’ll take a look at two distinct, completely new, off-world enterprises that could add up to steep capital gains in the future.
Commercial satellite servicing is about to take off
Satellite servicing is likely to become a boom industry as the world’s fleet of orbital communication tech begins to age and as new satellites come online and further crowd the skies. While the industry is still in its infancy, there’s already a key stock that investors can snap up now to get in on the extraterrestrial action: Maxar Technologies (TSX:MAXR)(NYSE:MAXR).
Satellite servicing is starting to gain interest as a way to extend the life of expensive satellite technology. Businesses will be able to pump more funds into expansion and efficiency instead of shelling out for new satellites, while the pressure on terrestrial resources can also be reduced. NASA’s new Restore-L robotic refuel system signals a key partnership with Maxar.
The commercial satellite servicing industry effectively came into being last month when the MEV-1 (Mission Extension Vehicle-1) was sent up by Northrop Grumman to connect with the communications satellite Intelsat 901. MEV-1 will take over the satellite’s pointing and orbit-maintenance roles in a world first, extending the orbital communicator’s life span by a projected five years.
A brand-new industry could mix space tech and food
Partnering with a number of universities and start-up Space Cargo Unlimited, NASA has effectively kick-started the space-aged wine industry. Twelve bottles of wine have been launched for ageing on the International Space Station in a “Complex Microbiological System” – or CommuBioS. The results could also be used to study food longevity in space and how climate change may affect aspects of agriculture.
NASA states that the results of the experiment will “advance knowledge of the evolution of compounds that are critical for the nutrition and taste of foods.” While investors can’t get in on the “made in space” action just yet – except through an indirect route via Northrop Grumman – entrepreneurial outfits such as Space Cargo Unlimited could be worth watching in the future.
As NASA put it in a statement on the experiment, “Future long-duration space missions require storing food and medicines for long periods of time, which may affect the nutrition and taste of the former and the potency of the latter.” In short, the experiment could very well be the birth of an entirely new area of the wine industry – and one that could be ripe for capital gains in the long term.
The bottom line
From commercial satellite servicing to a new area of food and wine cultivation, the industrialization of space, still barely off the launch pad, is already starting to show signs of real-world investment opportunities. While there are few options for direct exposure as of yet, early space investors have a strategic buy in Maxar for a pure-play on space tech.
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Fool contributor vhetherington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES LTD.