We normally don't talk about penny stocks here at the Fool for a simple reason: They're an excellent way to lose some dough because they're thinly traded and they're often in cahoots with hypesters.

Still, there are a few tiny companies that we like so much, we can't help but sneak them into our normal coverage. Tim Beyers slipped a few online while the editors were at some kind of spa retreat with his "Penny Stocks From Heaven."

There's another penny company out there that Tim and I (and Bill Mann) like, although it's got a lot more to do with our nerdy personalities than with the promise of imminent riches -- although it's got a little of that too, as we'll see. SpaceDev (OTC BB: SPDV) was in the news recently when its rocket technology powered Burt Rhutan's SpaceShipOne to the X Prize.

It's hard not to be enamored of a firm that pioneered an engine that burns rubber and where the "related transactions" section of the SEC filings details loans to the company from its officers. SpaceDev is also involved in the design of very small satellites, low-power space computers, and Internet Protocol control systems.

Basically, it is trying to build small, light, simple, and affordable stuff to outfit the next wave of space flight -- which might include you and me. If you don't think this is cool, then you didn't spend enough time with Spock, Luke, or Chewbacca. (Get thee to Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), and start watching.)

SpaceDev's advantage is a willingness to think small and work outside the proscriptive institutional norms that might hamstring aerospace giants such as Boeing (NYSE:BA), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), and Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC). Sounds a little bit like a Rule Breaker to me.

SpaceDev is still a big speculation, but to the faithful, recent third-quarter numbers might look encouraging. For the seventh consecutive quarter, the firm had increasing revenues. The $1.2 million dollars was a 60% improvement. And the operating profit of $49,000 not only reversed a much larger loss for the prior-year period but also marked the third quarter in a row where operations were out of the red.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is still subzero, and this is a company that depends on infusions of cash via preferred stock financing. But increasing contract revenue from the Air Force, Missile Defense Agency, and DARPA ought to help keep SpaceDev afloat and in a good position to benefit should a certain Virgin's (70) mile-high club ever prove popular.

For related Foolishness:

So maybe SpaceDev's not ready for prime time. But when it gets close, you can bet the Rule Breakers team will keep their eyes on it. See what they're watching now with a free trial.

Seth Jayson is thinking that it's time to start building model rockets again. At the time of publication, he had positions in no company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.