Elon Musk is, like Richard Branson, a gifted seller – among others, for himself. Sharp headlines included. “We want to open space for humanity,” he is quoted as saying. “Space must be affordable for that.” And his rocket SpaceX is the right vehicle for it. But behind the pompous words, a timely investment softly shimmers, which would have been pure illusion just a few decades ago.

At that time, NASA thought it was possible to shoot a man to Mars in 1984. Since then, a lot has happened; robots landed on the red planet. But a NASA astronaut? Not one. It is no wonder, then, that the aerospace industry reacted enthusiastically to the announcement by Musk to bring people to Mars – an unmanned mission in 2018 with real people in 2025. Musk’s announcements really have a lot of thrust, even if there are still some technical challenges to solve.

After all, Musk has produced the rocket SpaceX already, Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin as well. And a prerequisite for the Mars mission was and is the development of a reusable rocket. Both Mars missionaries have recently tested their corresponding vehicles, making sure they are usable again after landing. In Musk’s plans, this is a rocket and a space shuttle, as high as a 27-story building and as heavy as 140 fully loaded 737 jets. 200 passengers are to be accommodated in it, paying US$ 200,000 per capita. But Musk’s plans are not just about astronauts or paying travellers, but also a kind of intergalactic freight company – the system is designed to launch satellites, carry loads to the ISS, and possibly perform manned missions to more distant targets.

 

Customers could therefore be not only money-paying tourists, but also countries that do not have their own space travel program. A further profiteer from this development could also be the providers of communication networks. Their satellites have to be brought into orbit. Appropriate navigation aids also are becoming more important – for example, there are countries where buildings do not always have an address and GPS navigation is important instead. Satellites can also be used to monitor freight traffic. Apart from this, global demand for data is increasing – and correspondingly that for data from space, collected by satellites.

And that turns the spirit of our time to space? Yes, because the universe of the space industry now includes “old” and “new” space. Old space consists of governments and the agencies docked to them. New space, meanwhile, consists of fresh companies with bold visions that turn the world of “universe 1.0” upside-down and understand it entrepreneurially. For them, it is about cost reductions and a new approach. Such as with SpaceX, with its powerful Falcon 9 rocket. There is also a step down. While satellites used to be the size of a bus and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, they can now be built at the size of a toaster – and correspondingly cheaper. A whole range of companies are ready for this, and benefit from pedalling in the slipstream of Falcon 9 and company. This applies not only to satellites, but also to quite different branches of industry.

Because the more satellites there are, the greater the amount of data they can obtain. This is so much data that experts no longer speak of “big data”, but of “extreme data”. And this mass must be mastered. For this purpose, specialized companies are required to carry out the corresponding IT grunt work programming corresponding algorithms. An example shows what for. Currently, a telecommunication giant gives some start-ups a long leash: the giant wants to know exactly where its customers are. “Geo-targeting” is the magic word. If a customer goes past a Starbucks cafe without entering, it will be possible in the future to play appropriate advertising on the mobile phone.

Another investment topic is space scrap. The more satellites, the more satellite scrap. And this scrap could scrap other satellites themselves. This effect is called the Kessler syndrome, after Donald Kessler, a NASA scientist. He warned that one day space could be so populated by satellites such that the inevitable debris from one of them could damage other satellites, whose fragments could, in turn, trigger a chain reaction.

Carrier development, numerous smaller-scale opportunities for use, and appropriate capital in abundance – this combination will make the new space travel industry an exciting investment topic for a long time. In other words: an investment of the times.

We recommend you a video of “The Economist” on this attractive investment subject!

 

werthstein giles keating thumbnail
Giles Keating

Historians have an ongoing debate about whether single people really change the broad course of history or not. Napoleon, Mandela and so on… With space travel, the “old space”, run by governments, is finally starting to move again but “new space”, the private sector, is booming and that’s so much down to one man, Elon Musk.

Valerie Plagnol
Valerie Plagnol

The key words are affordable and flexible, capable of launching satellites, and bringing larger cargo to the International Space Station. Also demand is growing from states willing to send their own astraunots in the space station, and companies launching geolocalisation satellites, and other communication network devices.

Zeitgeist allocation

Published on 19.06.2017

Description Instrument ISIN TER Allocation
Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. Stock US0078001056 0% 13,00%
OHB SE Stock DE0005936124 0% 13,00%
Avio SpA Stock IT0005119810 0% 12,00%
Heico Corp. Stock US4228061093 0% 9,00%
Hexcel Corp. Stock US4282911084 0% 9,00%
Thales SA Stock FR0000121329 0% 8,00%
Eutelsat Communication Stock FR0010221234 0% 7,50%
Iridium Communications Inc. Stock US46269C1027 0% 7,50%
Inmarsat PLC Stock GB00B09LSH68 0% 7,50%
Constellium NV Stock NL0010489522 0% 7,00%
Electro Optic Systems Pty Ltd Stock AU000000EOS8 0% 6,50%

Index performance since inception: 

+26,46%
Disclaimer: Historical returns are no guarantee for future performance. A negative development of the instruments contained in the index can lead to a negative development of the overall index. The performance shown here is indexed to a starting value of 100 and corresponds to the gross value development of the Zeitgeist, which will be reduced by the asset management fee of up to 0.85% p.a.
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