A recent report by the Space Foundation shared the following figures:
- The global space economy hit $469 billion in 2021;
- The space sector saw 9 percent revenue growth since 2020; and
- 1,022 spacecraft placed in orbit during the first six months of 2022.
In a troubling time around the globe, those are some pretty positive numbers. Just in terms of launched spacecraft, we can also see the commercial sector is playing a large role:
The [second quarter] edition also looks at the record pace of successful launches from Jan. 1 to June 30, with 72 rockets inserting 1,022 identified spacecraft into space. That is more spacecraft attaining orbit in just six months than were launched in the first 52 years of the Space Age. Most of those new satellites came from the commercial sector, which launched 958 spacecraft in the first half of 2022.
It is clearly not just a government space game, though the report also notes that government spending increased since 2020 around the globe, such as the U.S. (18 percent), China (23 percent), and India (36 percent).
As you can also see from the graphic above, 90 nations are now operating in space. We cannot pretend that all of this is for space exploration. While much of it relates to defense and commercial spacecraft looking downward, it still leaves plenty of spacecraft to explore our awesome universe.