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How SpaceX is 'revolutionizing the space industry'

Ines Ferré
Markets Reporter

The spectacular launch into orbit of NASA astronauts aboard a SpaceX capsule on Saturday proves what space investors are betting on — commercial companies can lower the cost to access space.

“What we saw this weekend is something that should actually bring a lot of confidence to the space investing community,” CEO of ProcureAM tells Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

SpaceX, founded by Tesla’s (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, is now the first commercial company to have launched NASA astronauts to the International Space Station via its Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket, (both of which are re-usable). The astronaut spaceflight was the first to originate from U.S. soil since 2011.

“Sending humans to the ISS is actually helping us lower costs of actually getting things into outer space, which is what SpaceX is doing such a tremendous job on,” said Chanin.

“NASA and other space agencies are more and more ever willing to say, ‘Okay, we don't need to build everything ourselves. We're willing to work with the commercial space industry to help us achieve our goals’,” Andrew Chanin.

Since NASA retired its own shuttle program in 2011, it has been paying Russia more than $80 million per seat to shuttle astronauts to the ISS via the Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA calculates that its contract with SpaceX for six round-trip missions brings the average cost per seat down to $55 million.

“If they can keep on lowering those expenses, sending things into outer space, there's so many more technologies that the barriers of entry, and the cost of R&D will drop significantly and doing so could really revolutionize the space industry,” said Chanin, whose company created what he calls the first pure-play global space exchange-traded fund (UFO).

The Procure Space ETF includes 30 publicly-traded companies specializing in different areas, from rocket manufacturing to satellite technologies.

“Right now, one of the big drivers is broadband internet. So you look at things like 5G cloud computing, connected devices, even blockchain now some of these areas that people are really interested in getting exposure to and satellites are actually providing this,” said Chanin.

“Satellite companies are these global, digital, super highway toll operators for outer space,” he added.

Musk, recently dubbed a ‘visionary’ that ‘puts money where his mouth is’ by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, has said SpaceX’s satellite business will eventually pay for Musk’s more ambitious plans to eventually colonizing Mars.

Ines covers the U.S. stock market. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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