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Boeing Wins Race to Space

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And they're off! In the latest installment of space investing news, NASA just announced the four companies that will help it build a commercial spacecraft to replace the soon-to-be-defunct space shuttle fleet.

Doling out $270 million among privately held SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) , NASA is helping jump-start the shift to commercial space operations that President Obama called for last year. Boeing's said to be the biggest beneficiary, reaping a $92.3 million lion's share of the government largesse. United Launch Alliance Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) is probably pleased to hear that, too.

But the biggest news here is for the smaller companies in NASA's lineup. The contract comes at a particularly auspicious time for SpaceX. According to the rumor mill, founder Elon Musk plans to have SpaceX follow its corporate sibling Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA  ) onto the public markets soon. And I personally can hardly wait -- unlike Tesla, SpaceX is said to be profitable.)

Here's to hoping.

Are you looking for the best way to invest in the space race? Join the club -- literally. At Motley Fool Rule Breakers, we've already found one big beneficiary of the shift to commercial spaceflight, and we're keeping eyes on the heavens, searching for more. Join the search, and take a thirty-day free trial on our dime.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above -- but he'd dearly love to get in on the SpaceX IPO. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating on his favorite stock ideas under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 542 out of more than 170,000 members.

The Fool owns shares of Lockheed Martin. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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