A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit.

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Ark Invest’s new space research ETF began trading Tuesday as Cathie Wood’s company sought to tap into the growing space industry.

“Space is already an invisible backbone of our economy, and we believe it will only be more so.” [satellite] Constellations are starting, “Ark Invest analyst Sam Korus told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan about Power Lunch.”

ARKX shares were down just over 1% on the first day of trading, with shares opening at $ 20.50 per share.

ARKX’s 39 stocks include pure space companies like Iridium and Virgin Galactic, as well as defense and aerospace giants like Kratos, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The ETF also includes names that are not traditionally associated with the space industry, such as the Chinese e-commerce companies JD.com and Alibaba, or agricultural companies such as Trimble and Deere.

“We’ve all seen the memes floating around on Twitter,” said Korus, acknowledging public skepticism about ARKX’s holdings.

“The fact that people immediately refuse to do this is very comforting to us and in some ways shows what kind of research we are doing and how we can be unique,” he added.

Korus gave the example from Netflix, which has a weight of 1.25% in ARKX.

“Netflix … has 200 million paying subscribers. In the US alone there are over 40 million people who don’t have access to broadband. So if a satellite solution can get those customers in and expand the addressable market and topline for Netflix, this is it very important, “said Korus.

While none of the seven SPACs that recently announced mergers with space companies are in ARKX, Korus noted that Ark “is constantly evaluating” these companies.

“I think it’s important to remember with SPACs that a lot of them are almost in the pre-IPO phase,” said Korus. “We really want to be sure that we pick the winners over the long term, especially in the aerospace industry – where a lot of companies go bankrupt and things are delayed.”