While space may be the final frontier, more than a few enterprises previously labeled as the best space exploration stocks to buy appear to be on the cusp of requiring final arrangements if you catch my drift. However, a select few enterprises just might have what it takes to rise above the muck.
To be sure, the broader space economy enjoys massive potential. According to Grand View Research, the global space tourism market alone could expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.2% from 2023 to 2030. At the culmination of the forecasted period, this subsegment could hit sales of $8.67 billion. That’s a major incentive to consider space exploration stocks in 2023.
In addition, the same research firm states that the global satellite internet market could hit sector revenue of $22.57 billion. Again, that’s one more reason why you should consider the below space exploration stock picks.
As far as the best space exploration stocks to buy are concerned, Leidos (NYSE:LDOS) is the sector equivalent of hitting for a high average. Here, we’re not necessarily interested in knocking one out of the park but just getting on base and building confidence.
Over the past 50 years-plus, Leidos supported deep space exploration and human spaceflight projects through its technical expertise in information technology, engineering, and science. Through its decades of acumen, Leidos delivers space-industry applications for defense, intelligence, and civilian agencies.
Financially, LDOS makes a powerful case as a viable space exploration stock thanks to its predictable revenue stream and profitability. In particular, its net margin pings at 4.76%, above 62% of its peers. Also, LDOS trades at a forward multiple of 14.11. As a discount to projected earnings, Leidos ranks better than 78.61% of the competition.
Finally, Wall Street analysts peg LDOS as a consensus moderate buy. Their average price target lands at $111.56, implying over 18% upside potential.
Planet Labs (PL)
A much higher-risk enterprise than Leidos, Planet Labs (NYSE:PL) nevertheless intrigues prospective investors of space exploration growth stocks thanks to its Earth imaging business. Its stated goal focuses on imaging the entirety of the Earth daily to monitor changes and pinpoint trends. Further, the company helped journalists shed light on North Korea’s illicit shipping networks. Thus, Planet Labs offers myriad relevancies.
Financially, it’s not completely terrible, though I understand that’s not a great selling point for space exploration stocks in 2023. On the balance sheet, Planet Labs features surprising resilience, especially its cash-to-debt ratio of 18.56. This stat ranks better than 84.7% of companies listed in the broader aerospace and defense industry.
Operationally, though, the enterprise starts to look a little shaky. For example, its three-year revenue growth rate sits at 29.7% below parity. Also, its operating and net margins fell deeply into negative territory. Nevertheless, analysts peg PL as a consensus strong buy. Their average price target hits $7, implying almost 75% upside potential.
Intuitive Machines (LUNR)
For those that really want to extract the most upside potential from the best space exploration stocks, Intuitive Machines (NASDAQ:LUNR) just might fit the bill. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Intuitive is completing its lunar program, which will provide lunar surface access, lunar orbit delivery, and communications at lunar distance. Per its public profile, the company holds three NASA contracts.
As an aspirational enterprise, Intuitive doesn’t feature much in the way of financials. Per Gurufocus, the company posted revenue of $86 million atop a net loss of $6 million. Presently, it features a cash-to-debt ratio of 1, which isn’t that impressive compared to its peers.
However, what does impress onlookers is that Intuitive will play an integral role in NASA’s return to the moon. Plus, with intense competition from the Chinese, LUNR could be one of the top space exploration stocks to buy. Certainly, analysts aren’t waiting around, pegging LUNR as a unanimous strong buy. Their average price target stands at $18, implying over 146% upside potential.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.