Blue Origin Stock: Will This Space Company Ever Launch an IPO?

Blue Origin has some big ambitions for space exploration: It wants to build rockets that could help millions of people live and work in space. (Excuse me while I go update my list of life goals.)

Blue Origin is the brainchild of none other than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who started the company back in 2000. And Bezos recently renewed his focus on the rocket company when he announced that he would step down as Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) CEO in the summer of 2021 to focus his attention on Blue Origin.

Blue Origin

IPO Interest

7.5

What is Blue Origin?

Blue Origin builds reusable rockets that can carry payloads and people into space. The company also has plans to enter the rapidly growing space tourism market.

Expected IPO Date:

No planned date

  • The company was founded by billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
  • Blue Origin isn't publicly traded right now, but interest around a potential initial public offering (IPO) has grown along with the space exploration industry.

Bull Case

  • The company has a long-term view of the new space race and has successfully built reusable rockets.
  • Founder Jeff Bezos is a visionary who knows how to build disruptive companies . . . and has the capital resources to back them up.

Bear Case

  • Blue Origin's “slow-and-steady wins the race” approach has left it lagging behind its rival, SpaceX.
  • Building rockets for space exploration and tourism is complicated and costly. There's no guarantee that the money Blue Origin is spending now will pay off in the future.

Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin has ambitious goals for space tourism and reusable rockets, but it hasn’t said yet if it’ll go public. Here’s what investors need to know if it does.

Top 10 Blue Origin Numbers to Know 

  • 2000: The year Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos
  • 2024: The year the United States hopes to return humans to the moon, using the Artemis Human Landing System codeveloped by Blue Origin
  • 11 minutes: How long space tourists will fly on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceflight 
  • $200,000 to $300,000: The cost of one ticket to ride in New Shepard
  • $193 billion: Jeff Bezos’ net worth 
  • $1 billion: How much Bezos said he’ll spend each year funding Blue Origin
  • $13 million: The amount Blue Origin received from NASA as a grant in 2018
  • $25 billion: NASA’s estimated 2021 budget 
  • $350 billion: The current size of the global space industry 
  • $1 trillion: How much the global space industry market will be worth by 2040

Bull Case: Why Blue Origin Stock Could Be Worth Buying

Space exploration has entered a new era, thanks to renewed interest by the U.S. government and from Blue Origin’s rival, SpaceX

And while Blue Origin has trailed some of the advancements that SpaceX has made—Blue Origin’s rockets have yet to carry a human in flight—the aerospace company has made some significant strides recently. 

Blue Origin has a contract with NASA to help develop a new lunar lander—along with Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), and Draper—that could be used to put astronauts back on the moon as soon as 2024. I’ve already got my Siri reminder set!

That timeline could be extended, of course, but in the meantime, Blue Origin is testing its New Shepard rocket to fly research payloads into space.

The company also has a contract with Amazon (also founded by Bezos) called Project Kuiper to launch a constellation of satellites that will bring the internet to far-flung locations across the globe. That sounds a lot like what SpaceX’s Starlink project is already doing, but hey, why not have two billionaires launching internet-enabled satellites into low-Earth orbit, right?

Aside from all of these projects, Blue Origin’s long-term goal is to be a “road to space” where its reusable launch vehicles can shuttle people and supplies to large communities of space-dwelling humans. This means Blue Origin could soon be tapping into the burgeoning space tourism market. 

Blue Origin will use a crew capsule on top of its New Shepard rocket to give space tourism customers an 11-minute flight into space. The company says that its capsule is covered with the largest windows ever used in spaceflight history—taking up one-third of the capsule—which is sure to give the paying astronauts a fantastic view of Earth. 

And one final checkmark in the “pro” column for Blue Origin: the company is funded largely by Bezos himself, the richest person in the world.

Bezos has said in the past that he spends about $1 billion on Blue Origin every year. This has allowed the company to spend large sums of money without needing to generate revenue right now. 

New startups need deep pockets, and Bezos’ pockets are Grand Canyon-deep. Bezos currently has a net worth of about $193 billion.

Bear Case: Blue Origin Needs To Check These Things off the Flight List Before Its Stock Launches

While Blue Origin has some exciting projects in the pipeline right now, there are a few things that should concern potential investors. 

First, the space company is betting on space tourism and shuttling astronauts and other people into space. But to date, no human has ever flown in a Blue Origin rocket. 

The company has said that it could send up its first crewed flight some time in 2021, so investors should keep an eye on any developments on that front. 

Second, Blue Origin is behind its ambitious competitor, Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Blue Origin is developing its New Glenn rocket, a rival to SpaceX’s Falcon 9, but it won’t take its maiden flight until the fourth quarter of 2022. 

While Blue Origin insists on its website that it’s not in a space race, potential investors will want to see the company catch up to SpaceX, which has already accomplished many of Blue Origin’s goals. 

And finally, it’s still unclear whether or not Bezos’s Blue Origin will be able to create a viable aerospace business. Sure, it’s selling some of its rocket engines to United Launch Alliance (ULA) and it’s run by Bezos, who is pouring his own fortune into Blue Origin—but that may not be enough. 

Potential investors need to see the company generate revenue on its own that can sustain the business as it grows. As of right now, many of the company’s projects haven’t appeared to yield enough cash to keep the company growing on its own. 

Who Are Blue Origin’s Biggest Competitors?

Blue Origin has a number of competitors, some of whom are already publicly traded. The company has competed for government contracts with United Launch Alliance, which is a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing (NYSE: BA). While Blue Origin has provided some rocket engines to ULA, it still tries to win government contracts that ULA wants. 

Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE), which was founded by Richard Branson, will be the company’s biggest competitor in the space tourism market. Virgin has already flown manned test flights and has more than 600 reservations for its upcoming commercial space flights.

We already talked a bit about SpaceX, but it’s worth mentioning again that Musk’s aerospace company is a bit of an overachiever and has already accomplished the following since it was founded in 2002:

  • Launched thousands of satellites for an internet service called Starlink
  • Regularly uses its reusable rockets to carry payloads to the International Space Station (ISS)
  • Has successfully taken astronauts to the ISS in 2020 (marking the first time astronauts were launched from U.S. soil to the ISS since the Space Shuttle was retired)
  • Is working on its Starship rocket that it hopes will take astronauts to Mars by 2026

Bezos vs. Musk: 4 Times the Billionaires Sparred Over Their Space Ambitions

Blue Origin and SpaceX are unlike any other space companies because they’ve focused their attention on reusable rockets. But they’re also unique because they were founded by rival billionaires

Here are just a few times when Bezos and Musk were outspoken about their space feud:

  • 2004: Bezos and Musk meet for dinner and Musk later said, “I actually did my best to give good advice, which he largely ignored.”
  • 2013: Musk takes a swipe at his rival, saying that it is “more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct” than it is for Blue Origin to create a rocket capable of carrying humans in the next five years.
  • 2015: After SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 suborbital booster stage, Bezos tweeted “Welcome to the club” to SpaceX. Musk wasn’t impressed and responded that his company’s Grasshopper rocket had already achieved this goal several years before Blue Origin.
  • 2020: Musk provoked Bezos again, saying in a New York Times interview of his rival, “The rate of progress is too slow and the amount of years he has left is not enough, but I’m still glad he’s doing what he’s doing with Blue Origin.”

When Can I Buy Blue Origin Stock?

Blue Origin is a private company and hasn’t announced any plans to go public yet. If Bezos or Blue Origin’s CEO Bob Smith decide to take the company public, the company could either be listed directly on a stock market exchange, like the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), set up an initial public offering (IPO), or it could go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Blue Origin Stock: Who Owns It Now?

Blue Origin is owned by Jeff Bezos. The billionaire has poured an estimated $1 billion of his own money into the company each year (for the past few years at least), mostly by selling Amazon stock. There aren’t any other Blue Origin investors (that we know of), but NASA did give the aerospace company a $13 million grant in 2018.

Blue Origin Stock Price: How Much Is It Now?

Blue Origin doesn’t have a stock price right now because the company’s shares aren’t yet publicly traded. 

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What Is Blue Origin’s Stock Symbol?

The space company doesn’t have a stock symbol because it’s not listed on any stock exchange. If/when the company goes public, it will then choose a stock symbol under which it will be listed. 

Blue Origin Stock: How Much Is the Company Worth Now?

Blue Origin is in a unique position of being a fast-growing space flight startup that doesn’t have a valuation. 

This is because the company hasn’t had any investment rounds. Investing rounds are when private investors and venture capital firms invest in a company. When this happens, a valuation is then determined based on how much money the private company has raised. 

Most of Blue Origin’s financial backing comes from its founder, Jeff Bezos. The company has received $13 million from NASA, but that money came in the form of a grant

Blue Origin: Should You Buy the IPO?

Blue Origin doesn’t have any plans to have an initial public offering (IPO) right now. But if the company does go public in the near future, there are a few things potential investors should keep in mind. 

The first is that Blue Origin lags behind many of its competitors right now. We’ve already discussed how Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are outpacing Blue Origin, so I won’t rehash those points, but potential investors should know that Blue Origin continually takes a slow-and-steady approach to its rocket launches and that’s kept it a bit behind its rivals. 

For that reason, if Blue Origin were to go public soon, I would be hesitant to buy the company’s shares at its IPO. 

Blue Origin could certainly catch up, but it will take some time. Until the company has passed some key milestones—like a crewed flight—investors should be content to just watch Blue Origin as it grows. 

Even if Blue Origin decides to go public soon, investors should keep in mind that waiting several quarters before investing in any newly public company is always a good idea anyway.

Investors will have a clearer picture of the company’s financials after it has released several detailed quarterly reports. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Blue Origin Publicly Traded?

No, Blue Origin isn’t publicly traded right now. As of April 2021, the company hasn’t filed any paperwork to go public and hasn’t made any announcements about being listed on any public exchanges.

What Is Blue Origin’s Stock Symbol?

Blue Origin doesn’t have a stock symbol because the company isn’t publicly traded. 

Can I Buy Shares in Blue Origin?

You can’t buy shares in Blue Origin right now because the company hasn’t listed its shares on any public stock exchanges. 

Who Owns Blue Origin?

Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos, who still owns it. The billionaire and Amazon founder reportedly spends about $1 billion per year funding his space company.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. The Motley Fool recommends Lockheed Martin and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. Millennial Money is part of The Motley Fool network. Millennial Money has a disclosure policy.

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