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.
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