Apologies for the supermarket-tabloid-style headline. But ever since Boeing
And yes, as reported in The Wall Street Journal this week, the Alliance has indeed adopted an "orphan," allying itself with a little-known company by the name of XCOR Aerospace. XCOR aims ultimately to develop a reusable "space plane," with which it will run commercial flights into space for tourists. In the meantime, it's looking to grab some quick cash helping the Alliance build cheaper rocket engines.
The Alliance currently buys engines from fellow corporate giant United Technologies
It didn't win, of course. Rather, NASA split the contract between an established space firm, Orbital Sciences
And that's the real significance of this news. Like XCOR, Musk's SpaceX was once little more than a daydream, you see. But after winning NASA contracts worth nearly $2 billion over the course of just a few short years, the company's starting to look like a credible contender.
So yes, maybe the Alliance is just using XCOR for its own purposes today. But that's the thing with rockets; light a match too close, and they can spark up and quickly elude your grasp. One of these days, the Alliance is going to get too clever for its own good. One day, one of these orphan space stocks may grow up to overthrow the galactic overlords.
What's your favorite space startup? Is it Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, perhaps? Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic? Or someone else entirely? Tell us about it in the comments section below, then check back to see what other space companies your fellow Fools have spotted.