The space industry is dominated by private companies but one of the biggest banks on Wall Street is telling clients to pay attention to coming investment opportunities.
"A number of events in recent weeks have the potential to accelerate the investment significance of the space economy from what is mostly in the private equity domain to the public equity domain," a team of Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note Thursday. "We want to stay ahead of the curve during this critical time of capital formation."
Morgan Stanley reiterated two of its previous convictions in this latest note: Investors are generally not interested in space opportunities, and that lack of interest is comparable to the lack of interest in autonomous vehicle companies a few years ago. Autonomous technology moved "from complete obscurity and skepticism to a dominant investor theme," the firm said in an October report. Since then, Morgan Stanley says its conversations with people "in the U.S. government, military, and intelligence communities overwhelmingly indicate that space is an area where we will see significant development."
Five events this summer "increase investor significance" in space, the firm says: The Pentagon's plan to establish a Space Force by 2020, NASA introducing the first astronauts assigned to SpaceX and Boeing flights next year, the accelerating testing programs of Virgin Galactic and Stratolaunch, congressional concerns about abnormal behavior by a Russian satellite and a new Pentagon report on China's advancing space capabilities. Morgan Stanley says these topics together will accelerate the U.S. need to increase its access to space while further decreasing the technological costs.