"For the first time since 1972, people think we're going to have a renewed space program," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst for investment firm Jefferies & Co. "It's a hot-button topic."
Shares of space module maker Spacehab Inc. soared 79 percent, or $1.32, to $3.00, while SpaceDev Inc., a maker of propulsion systems, jumped 47 percent, or 48 cents, to $1.50. Satellite and launch vehicle maker Orbital Sciences Corp. was up 49 cents or almost 4 percent at $12.95.
"We see Bush's commitment to space exploration as a positive indicator that will reinvigorate the space program," said Spacehab spokeswoman Kimberly Campbell.
Spacehab has no plans to alter its business direction, Campbell said.
"At this time, our business model has not changed," she said.
A Bush proposal to expand the country's space program is expected after Wednesday, Jan. 14. The president's proposal comes almost a year after the shuttle Columbia exploded on re-entering the atmosphere, killing its crew and plunging the National Aeronautics and Space Administration into a long period of mourning and introspection.
Interest in outer space exploration has exploded in recent days since NASA's rocket explorer Spirit successfully landed on Mars, subsequently sending back images of rocks, powder-filled hollows and hills.
Hogan said he doubted the gains could hold, since the budget for space exploration had not yet been determined and it takes years to send equipment to other planets.
"Saying it and doing it are two different things," he said. "Sure, we just sent an unmanned craft to Mars, but it took five years to get there after two unsuccessful attempts."