A breakdown of Aerojet Rocketdyne and whether its space unit can rival its strong defense business

The four RS-25 engines slated to fly on the maiden flight of NASA's SLS rocket, at the company's facility at NASA's Stennis Space Center.
Aerojet Rocketdyne

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Rocket engine and spacecraft propulsion maker Aerojet Rocketdyne has a long history of supporting successful launches and operations, both for U.S. missile defense systems and numerous space missions.

But while the company's defense portfolio is a point of strength, and the likely source of its stock growth, Aerojet Rocketdyne's space business is on the sidelines of much of the widespread transformation and growth occurring in the more than $420 billion space economy – facing new competition from the likes of Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX. With investors increasingly looking for opportunities in companies with significant exposure to the space industry, CNBC spoke to analysts and took a closer look at Aerojet Rocketdyne and its opportunities.

"Aerojet's defense business is the much more driven side, versus space which is a little bit more about maintaining its position," Jefferies analyst Greg Konrad told CNBC.