Private Space Companies

Journey of Discovery

The number of private space companies continues to grow. You can't invest in these privately owned companies by purchasing stock, but there are other ways to become involved.

The private space industry is young, and this is a dynamic and exciting time. These companies range from research non-profits to corporations planning to mine asteroids in near-Earth orbit.

Looking for companies to invest in directly? Visit the public space companies page.

If you want to contribute to the success of the private space companies listed below, make a donation (sometimes tax-deductible), volunteer your time, or lobby Congress for space development legislation such as the Private Space Companies Act.

Some of these companies are actively hiring, so consider applying if you have the qualifications.

  • Bigelow Aerospace, Inc. (Website) Long-range goal is to bring human space flight into the arena of commercial business. Objectives include providing a low-cost, low earth orbit (LEO) human-rated space station that is accessible to the commercial sector. Founder: Robert Bigelow (owner, Budget Suites of America). Location: Las Vegas, Nevada. Established in 1998.

  • Blue Origin LLC. (Website) Develops concepts and technology to support future human spaceflight operations. Among other projects, they are developing a sub-orbital space vehicle that will take off and land vertically. Founder: Jeff Bezos (founder, Locations: Kent, Washington office and a launch complex in Culberson County, Texas. Incorporated in 2000.

  • Copenhagen Suborbitals. (Website) Non-profit suborbital space endeavour working towards launching a human being into space. Has performed 45 engine tests to date. Founders: Kristian von Bengtson, Peter Madsen. Location: Copenhagen, Denmark. Established in 2008.

  • Deep Space Industries. (Website) Privately held space company planning to mine asteroids for usable materials and manufacturing in situ. Missions to begin in 2015, to visit nearby asteroids to assess extractable resources including volatiles and metals. Founders: Rick Tumlinson, David Gump. Location: McLean, Virginia. Established in 2013.
  • Frontier Astronautics LLC. (Website) Provides hard-to-get technology and services to the burgeoning entrepreneurial space industry. Specializes in affordable and reliable rocket engines and attitude control systems, as well as custom design and testing services. Location: Chugwater, Wyoming.
  • Intelsat. (Website) Leading provider of satellite services worldwide. For more than 45 years, has delivered information and entertainment for leading media and network companies, multinational corporations, internet service providers, and government agencies. Taken private in 2001; acquired PanAmSat in 2006. Offices: Luxembourg, Washington DC, Ellenwood, Georgia.

  • Masten Space. (Website) Privately held company that designs, builds, tests, and operates reusable launch vehicles, including Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL). Founder: David Masten. Location: Mojave, California. Founded in 2004.

  • Moon Express (MoonEx). (Website) American privately held early-stage company formed by a group of Silicon Valley and space entrepreneurs, with the goal winning the Google Lunar X Prize, and of ultimately mining the Moon for natural resources of economic value. Winner of two Lunar X-Prize Milestone Prizes. Founders: Robert D. Richards, Naveen Jain, Barney Pell. Founded in 2010. Location: Cape Canaveral, Florida.

  • Planetary Resources. (Website) Asteroid mining company, whose goal is to establish a new paradigm for resource discovery and utilization that will bring the solar system into humanity’s sphere of influence. Founders: Eric Anderson, Peter Diamandis. Location: Bellevue, Washington.

  • Rocketplane, Ltd. (Website) Creator of the Rocketplane XP, a suborbital spacecraft that will launch civilian astronauts more than 330,000 feet above Earth's atmosphere to experience the sensation of weightlessness and an extraordinary view of planet Earth from space. Rocketplane is taking reservations for suborbital flights. Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Established in 2001.

  • Scaled Composites, LLC. (Website) An aerospace and specialty composites development company. Scaled has broad experience in air vehicle design, tooling, manufacturing, specialty composite structure design, analysis, fabrication and developmental flight test. In 2004, the Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne was the first private craft ever to leave the Earth's atmosphere, making the company the winner of the Ansari X Prize. Founder: Burt Rutan. Location: Mojave, California. Established in 1982.

  • Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) Space Systems. (Website) Products range from spacecraft actuators that power the Mars rovers, to hybrid rocket technologies that powered the first commercial astronaut to space, and from microsatellites controlled by the Internet to Dream Chaser®, a winged and piloted orbital commercial spacecraft. Acquired SpaceDev in 2008. President & CFO: Eren Ozmen. Location: Sparks, Nevada.

  • Space Information Labs (SIL). (Website) Mission is to develop, design, and integrate techological solutions for global space-based range, operationally responsive space, autonomous flight, and navigation systems. Working with DARPA to develop rapid and inexpensive launch capability for placing small satellites in orbit. Location: Santa Maria, California.

  • The Spaceship Company. (Website) An aerospace joint venture between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites. They plan to build the world’s first fleet of commercial sub-orbital spaceships and carrier aircraft. Current vehicles include WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. Location: Mojave Air and Space Port, Mojave, California. Founded in 2008. Careers
  • SpaceX. (Website) Has developed two launch vehicles, established an impressive launch manifest, and been awarded COTS funding by NASA to demonstrate delivery and return of cargo to the International Space Station. By their own account, SpaceX is on a sound financial footing as they move towards volume commercial launches. Founder: Elon Musk (co-founder, PayPal). Established in 2002.

  • Ventions, LLC. (Website) Research, development, and services company founded to commercialize innovative technologies in the aerospace sector. Currently focused on development of small-scale propulsion systems, pumps, and launch vehicle components for government and commercial applications under various DARPA and NASA funded projects. Location: San Francisco, California. Established in 2004.

  • Virgin Galactic LLC. (Website) Working to develop the suborbital tourism industry. They are currently accepting booking for suborbital flights. Tickets cost $200,000; over 400 individuals have given deposits for future flights. Also plans to launch suborbital science missions and small satellites. Founder: Richard Branson (founder, Virgin Group). Location: Spaceport America, New Mexico.

  • XCOR Aerospace. (Website) Focuses on the research, development, project management and production of safe, reliable, reusable launch vehicles (RLVs), rocket engines and rocket propulsion systems. Location: Mojave, California. Founders: Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong, Doug Jones, Aleta Jackson. Established in 1999.

Read about a way to make private space development potentially very profitable, without depending on government funding.

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Every revolutionary idea passes three stages:
  1. It's impossible.
  2. It's possible but not worth doing.
  3. I said it was a good idea all along.
- Arthur C. Clarke
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