See the moment Blue Origin spacecraft lifts off

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos launched into space aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft he funded.

Posted: Jul 20, 2021 9:09 AM
Updated: Jul 20, 2021 11:00 AM


Average folks may not be able to saunter into space like Jeff Bezos just yet. But the frenzy around exploring the final frontier doesn't have to be alien territory for the typical Earth-bound investor.

Several publicly traded companies and exchange-traded funds have shot into orbit, capitalizing on a growing fascination with space.

Bezos blasted off and successfully landed in a space craft made by his Blue Origin company Tuesday, just nine days after fellow billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson took his own highly publicized space ride.

The Procure Space ETF, which debuted in 2019 and trades under the ticker symbol UFO, owns Branson's Virgin Galactic as a top holding and has capitalized on the hype about the billionaires' space race. The UFO ETF is up 14% so far this year and more than 40% during the past 12 months.

'There certainly has been more interest in the fund this year. A lot of people had placed bets prior to last week's Virgin launch,' said Andrew Chanin, manager of the UFO fund and CEO Of Procure.

Of course, the UFO ETF does not own any Blue Origin or SpaceX stock, as both of those companies are privately held.

Chanin told CNN Business that the UFO ETF is passively managed, meaning that it's based off an index. In this case, it's The S-Network Space Index, created by a firm called Space Investment Services.

The space economy

Chanin said that the index's managers are looking not just for companies that aim to send wealthy tourists into space. The real money from space launches is likely to come from the increased use of satellites for communication and internet services.

So while Virgin Galactic is a key holding in the fund, most of the other top stocks in the ETF have nothing to do with space travel.

Navigation and GPS leader Garmin, mobile mapping firm Trimble, communications company Iridium, satellite manufacturer Maxar and satellite media firms DISH and Sirius XM are among the bigger holdings. The ETF does not own either Bezos' Amazon or Elon Musk's Tesla.

'It would be preposterous to call Amazon or Tesla space companies even though their founders are in the space business,' Chanin said.

Chanin noted that Bank of America has estimated that the space business could be a $2.7 trillion revenue opportunity by 2045, and that half of those sales could be from broadband communications.

The UFO ETF isn't the only space stock fund

'The satellite industry is one of the most misunderstood parts of the space economy,' Chanin said, noting that satellite communications currently make up about a third of the nearly $425 billion in global revenue for the space industry.

'To look at space and exclude communications would mean you are not really representing the space economy,' he added.

Procure's Space ETF has some competition though. The SPDR S&P Kensho Final Frontiers ETF, which is lagging UFO's performance in 2021 and over the past year, also owns Virgin Galactic.

But the Final Frontiers ETF skews heavily toward aerospace and defense contractors. Top holdings include several companies that generate big chunks of revenue from the Pentagon, such as L3Harris, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

Cathie Wood's Ark Invest also launched a new Ark Space Exploration and Innovation ETF earlier this year. That fund does not own any Virgin Galactic shares, however.

Top holdings look like a mix of what is in the UFO and Final Frontiers funds, such as Trimble, Iridium, L3Harris and Lockheed.

Interestingly though, the Ark space ETF also owns shares of Amazon as well as Google owner Alphabet, which does have a stake in SpaceX, as well as non-space businesses such as Netflix and tractor maker Deere. The Ark space ETF is down about 1% since it debuted in March.

The-CNN-Wire
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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
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Oktibbeha503198
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Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
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Winston238084
Stone235338
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Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
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Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
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Perry111228
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